When Martin Conover saw "a huge fireball" and heard the explosion Wednesday morning, his first thought was, "There goes Trojan again."
The Springville resident remembers an earlier accident Dec. 6, 1981, at the explosives company at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon.That explosion obliterated one building and carved an 80-foot-wide, 3-foot-deep crater where the building had stood.
Trojan Corp. was involved in another accident in April 1987 when a pipe it had produced exploded in an area salvage yard, killing the man who was feeding the pipe into a giant hydraulic shear. A second man was critically injured.
Utah County Sheriff's Capt. Owen Quarnberg said that despite problems, Trojan Corp. has one of the safest operations he knows of.
"Trojan has always been a good neighbor," he said Wednesday after the explosion. "Safety has always been a major concern with them. They run a clean operation and are concerned about the welfare of their neighbors."
Quarnberg said the explosives manufacturers of Utah have a good record compared with those around the nation.
"If you looked around the country, you would be impressed, but people only notice when there is an accident."
Quarnberg said he is grateful injuries from this accident were minor, but he urged residents to face reality.
"The simple facts of life are that explosive-manufacturing factories are, by nature, a little more hazardous than, say, a Sears store. You have to expect a higher potential for risk.
"The manufacturers in Utah are, by andlarge, very responsible," he added. "We are fortunate, but we still need to understand risks."