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Fireworks Plant Fire and Explosion Rocks Area
Tenino, Wash. - One person was killed and two were injured Wednesday morning in an explosion at a Thurston County fireworks facility.
Deputies and firefighters responded to the scene, Entertainment Fireworks in the 13000 block of Reeder Road Southwest, at about 9:55 a.m. after receiving a report of an explosion and fire in a building.
Three injured victims were found at the scene.
The most seriously injured of them, 74-year-old Bill Hill, died before he could be airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
A 25-year-old named Ke-Andrew Pierce was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with burns and trauma. Gregg Farnsworth, who is co-owner of the business, was taken another hospital to be treated for burns.
All three victims are employees at the facility, Elwin said.
A small building at the facility was destroyed by the fire. The flames were quickly extinguished by firefighters.
The explosion happened while a truck was being loaded with fireworks to be taken to a show. Something unknown ignited a firework and started a fire and explosion, Elwin said.
More people could have been hurt and more buildings damaged if the company hadn't been following regulations that require fireworks transfers to happen away from other buildings and other explosives, he said.
The man who died was a long-time employee of the company, Elwin said.
Mark Rorvic, 54, who lives across the street, told The Olympian that he awoke to the sound of the explosions.
"All of a sudden, all hell broke loose, and it was boom, boom, boom, boom," he said. "Horrific - it's the only way I could say it."
Rorvic said he used to work for the fireworks company, which puts on professional shows.
On its website, Entertainment Fireworks says it's the largest fireworks company based in Washington state. It puts on fireworks displays and distributes fireworks. The website says it has 21 buildings on its property.
Representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the state Department of Labor and Industries are investigating.
"Right now this appears to be non-criminal and non-intentional - an unfortunate accident related to this type of business," Elwin said.