ATF NRT rules deadly McEwen explosion accidental - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

ATF NRT rules deadly McEwen explosion accidental

(Photo provided by ATF Nashville Field Division) (Photo provided by ATF Nashville Field Division)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced their preliminary findings in the Rio Ammunition manufacturing incident.

The ATF National Response Team (NRT) has deemed the incident as non-criminal in nature and has classified it as an industrial accidental explosion.

The explosion occurred in the area of the mezzanine that fed the loading machine that resulted in the death of one employee and the injury of three other employees.

On Thursday, the NRT, led by Central Region Team Supervisor Steve Cordle, joined the explosives investigation into the Rio Ammunition manufacturing plant. The NRT along with agents from the Nashville Field Office and the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Section processed the scene in order to determine the cause of the incident.

The incident caused considerable monetary damage and resulted in the injury of three individuals and the death of one individual.

Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis stated, "Condolences are with the Edwards family during this traumatic event. The community suffered a great loss due to this devastating incident. I am proud of the immediate response from both Hickman and Humphreys County emergency personnel. The willingness of everyone to work together to move swiftly to determine the cause will allow closure to the Edwards family, those who were injured as well as their coworkers."

The NRT, along with ATF special agents from the Nashville Field Division and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal's Office-Bomb and Arson Section responded with the Humphreys County Sherriff's Office and other first responders.

The Hickman County Sheriff's Office, Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency and the respective fire departments assisted with the investigation.

"ATF is committed to working alongside its state and local partners, bringing its expertise to determine the origin and cause of the explosion, and provide whatever resources necessary to thoroughly investigate and provide answers," said ATF Nashville Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Fulton.

The Rio Ammunition facility was determined safe to enter Friday, and crews began clearing debris, as the company is expected to regain control of the building Saturday.

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