Machine operator injured in explosion, fire at Kauai recycling facility

Local News

A Kauai recycling facility was closed on Monday as crews removed debris from an incident the week prior.

A 38-year-old Kalaheo man was seriously injured Friday morning, Aug. 17, when an item exploded and caught fire at Puhi Metals Recycling Facility. It happened at approximately 8:30 a.m.

Firefighters from the Lihue fire station were dispatched to Puhi Metals after residents reported hearing a blast and seeing smoke coming from the facility.

According to a preliminary report, the man, who is an employee of Puhi Metals, was operating an excavator shearer on a metal box – approximately 5 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 3 feet high – when the box ruptured and exploded.

The man remained conscious and immediately jumped off the excavator to safety.

Once on scene, firefighters found that employees at the facility managed to bring the fire under control using dry chemical extinguishers. Firefighters fully extinguished the remaining flames and smoldering debris shortly after.

The man sustained severe burns to his arms and torso, and was transported by medics to Wilcox Medical Center, where he remains.

The cause of the explosion is currently under investigation.

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