Mersen USA Officials Credit Response Team For Saving Employee’s Life

ST. MARYS  (AP)— Officials at Mersen USA say an internal response team saved the life of a
western Pennsylvania worker after an oven explosion killed a visiting employee.

Killed in the
blast on January 30, 2014 was 52-year-old Arwed Ralf Uecker. Uecker was global
director of research and development for
Mersen USA Bn
Group, based in Boonton, N.J. Uecker was visiting the plant in St. Marys when the
explosion happened.

Also injured but
saved by the response team was 57-year-old Neil Carter, a production supervisor.
He remained in a Pittsburgh hospital in serious but stable condition with
unspecified injuries.The company says a third worker treated at a hospital was
released “with no injuries related to the incident.”

Noah Nichelson, general manager
with Mersen USA of St. Marys, called the actions of an internal response team
at the Trout Run Road facility “heroic” and instrumental in saving Carter’s
life. A coroner ruled that Uecker died of blunt force trauma and died

A statement issued by Mersen’s
St. Marys office on Tuesday reads, “Every attempt was made to save Dr. Uecker’s
life by our internal first response team as well as the local first responders.
Sadly those efforts were not successful.” Mersen said Tuesday that the
explosion site, in a “standalone building” at the facility, has been released
back to Mersen by local authorities and the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA). The cause of the blast remains under investigation
by OSHA, who believes the process will last up to six months. The company said
operations in the affected area remain “voluntarily halted” to allow for
completion of an internal investigation into the cause of the
explosion. “We intend to be intensely thorough in our efforts to fully
understand the root cause of the accident and ensure that it is safe to resume
operations,” the statement reads. No timetable has been given for the
resumption of those operations and employees previously assigned to the
affected section of the plant have been temporarily reassigned.

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