Nitric acid tank explodes, injuring 9 at Rolls-Royce plant in Indianapolis; 8 hospitalized

INDIANAPOLIS – Fire officials say an explosion involving a tank of nitric acid has injured nine workers at a Rolls-Royce plant near the Indianapolis International Airport.

Capt. Mike Pruitt of the Wayne Township Fire Department says a 250-gallon tank of nitric acid exploded about 1:30 p.m. Friday, releasing a cloud of vapour that left nine workers suffering from acid burns and breathing problems.

Eight of the workers were hospitalized, but Pruitt says none had life-threatening injuries. One worker was treated at the scene.

Nitric acid is corrosive. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says the vapour or mist form can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and skin. High concentrations of vapour can severely burn the eyes and skin.

Rolls-Royce has research facilities and an aircraft engine factory in Indianapolis.