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Ten year anniversary of CTA Acoustics explosion

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

CORBIN, Ky. (WYMT) - A dark day in Corbin's history is remembered, ten years later.

On February 20th, 2003 an explosion and fire at the CTA Acoustics plant killed seven employees and injured nearly 40 others.

Many people in Corbin remember that day well.

There were many people that felt the explosion and almost everyone could see the huge cloud of smoke rising over the CTA Acoustics plant.

Charles Lanham said he remembers that day, “I was in the bed and I kindly heard a boom and I didn't pay no attention to it and next thing I know cops was beating our door down and telling us to evacuate.”

Charles Lanham was one of many who awoke to the sound of the dust explosion at the plant that produced fiberglass insulation.

“At the time I thought it was the end of time,” Lanham said.

Although he only lived nearby, he says to this day he still relies on oxygen to breathe, “Still having problems with my breathing supposed to be on 2 liters of oxygen 24/7.”

Once the local hospital learned of the explosion they jumped into action.

“At that time we went ahead and called a Code Delta which is what we call a disaster outside of the hospital,” Director of Surgical Services for Women & Children Sherrie Mays said.

Sherrie Mays is the Director of Surgical Services. She says about one dozen patients came into the hospital with burn injuries.

“Here we had 11 critical victims that actually came in and all their airways had to be maintained because they all had facial burns it was very intense.

Investigators with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board found the explosion was fueled by resin dust accumulated in a production area, likely ignited by flames from a manufacturing oven.

In all, 7 people died from the explosion, and the site of smoke billowing through the air will not soon be forgotten by those here in Corbin.

CTA Acoustics has since built a new plant at another site in Corbin.
Officials there did not want to comment on the anniversary.

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