A press release from the US Chemical Safety Board:

Washington, DC, October 29, 2007 – Two investigators from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) are deploying to the site of today’s fire at the Barton Solvents facility in Des Moines, Iowa.

The CSB is currently investigating a solvent fire that heavily damaged a Barton Solvents distribution facility in Valley Center, Kansas, causing the evacuation of thousands of residents and sending projectiles into the surrounding community.

Lead investigator Randy McClure, who is also leading the Kansas-based investigation, will be accompanied by investigator Jim Lay, P.E.  The investigators will begin examining the circumstances and causes of the fire in Des Moines, which reports say forced an evacuation and the closure of major roadways.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit their website at http://www.csb.gov.

For more information, contact Director of Public Affairs Dr. Daniel Horowitz, 202-261-7613, cell 202-441-6074.