The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

April 23, 2013

Woman hurt in weapons factory blast


GREENE TOWNSHIP — An explosion at a munitions factory outside of Jamestown on Monday morning sent one unidentified female worker to the hospital.

A worker at Combined Systems Inc. was injured just after 7:30 a.m. when a shell exploded inside one of the production buildings, causing her facial injuries, according to Chief Mike Cadman of Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department.

Combined Systems makes tactical munitions and crowd control devices for the armed forces and law enforcement at its plant on 388 Kinsman Road, about 2 miles west of Jamestown in Greene Township. Combine Systems makes items such as tear gas canisters and flash-bang stun grenades.

“It was in one of the stages of production, an area where they wash products,” Cadman said of where the explosion occurred. “There was no fire and only the one injury.”

Tom Luckock, Jamestown assistant chief, termed the explosion as “small.”

Neither Cadman nor Luckock knew what kind of ordnance exploded. Others were in the building at the time, but only the one woman was injured, according to the chiefs.

Messages left Monday for Don Smith, chief executive officer at Combined Systems, weren’t returned.

The unnamed injured woman was airlifted from the scene to a trauma center, Cadman said.

Jamestown fire department sent two trucks to the scene; ambulances responded from the fire department and from Life Force in Hempfield Township.

Greenville Fire Department and West Salem Township Volunteer Fire Department from Mercer County and North Shenango Township and Fallowfield volunteer fire departments from Crawford County were called for assistance, but they were turned back en route when there was no fire, Cadman said.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into Monday’s incident.

Combined Systems has had two fires at its complex outside of Jamestown in less than 18 months.

On Feb. 20, 2012, a midday fire destroyed a building that made the company’s smoke products. On Nov. 15, 2011, a similar fire broke out in a different building. There were no injuries in neither fire.

Herald staff contributed to this story, which is distributed by CNHI News Service.