Explosion at GM Battery Lab Injures Two; Building Evacuated

By Jason Davis | April 11, 2012
A woman was critically injured this morning at General Motors' Alternative Energy Center after “extreme testing on a prototype battery” went awry. Officials have been mum on details, but according to local fire authorities, the woman was taken to St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit for further care. “She is conscious; she’s in a lot of pain. She’s a ‘Priority 2,’ which means she has life-threatening injuries,” Warren Fire Commissioner Wilburt McAdams told the Detroit Free Press. Another five employees were treated on the scene, and the building was evacuated. Due to the proprietary nature of the incident, Fire officials have yet to publicly identify the cause of the explosion, and have been watching the drifting smoke for signs of hazardous material release. In an official statement released by GM, the automaker refused to identify the incident as an explosion, but affirmed the battery incident was not related to any production vehicle, including the can't-seem-to-escape-bad-press Chevy Volt.
“It didn’t take out the entire building; whatever they were working on in this lab, something happened, causing the explosion,” McAdams said. Fortunately, GM and the local Fire Authority had recently staged a mock simulation of a terrorist bombing at the high-security facility, which proved invaluable training for on-site first responders and fire department crews. “Obviously, in a high-security area, there are multiple locked doors—by design they’re trying to keep people out, and we’re trying to get in,” McAdams said. "But so far, we’re pretty happy with how it’s gone.” A full investigation by the Occupational Safety and Healthy Administration is forthcoming. Source: Detroit Free Press