Investigation continues into deadly McEwen explosion - WSMV Channel 4

Investigation continues into deadly McEwen explosion

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(Photo provided by ATF Nashville Field Division) (Photo provided by ATF Nashville Field Division)
MCEWEN, TN (WSMV) -

Investigators may know by Saturday what caused the explosion in Humphreys County that killed a man and injured three other people this week at an ammunition plant.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Friday that some sort of smokeless powder played a significant role in the blast, and there's no evidence of foul play.

"I don't think anybody has any indication at this time that there was any type of criminal act out here. It looks like it was something that happened as part of what we're trying to find out, like an accident. We don't think that there was any intentional criminal act in any way," said Jack Webb, assistant special agent with ATF.

The Rio Ammunition facility was determined safe to enter Friday, and crews began clearing debris, as the company is expected to regain control of the building Saturday.

Rodney Edwards, a maintenance worker, died in the explosion. His wife said just before he left for work Wednesday morning, he kissed her goodbye.

"He always kissed me goodbye," Kathryn Edwards said.

Neither of them would know that kiss would be their last.

"He kissed me goodbye like he kisses me goodbye every morning, told me he loved me. I said, 'I love you, too, goodbye. Have a good day,'" Kathryn Edwards said.

She says her husband was a hard worker who loved his job. He rarely missed a day of work at Rio Ammunition.

"He was there when no one else was. We went up there on weekends to paint decks. He would go in seven days a week - morning, noon and night," Kathryn Edwards said.

Just an hour before his shift was about to end Wednesday, he was caught in the explosion that claimed his life.

"He didn't deserve it. It's just not fair," said his cousin Chelsea Simons.

Three others were hurt in the blast. Joey Clark is recovering from surgery Friday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

"He's still alive, and we realize someone was killed and we're so lucky. Joey knew him and was right in the same vicinity," said brother Tony Clark.

Shirley Edwards and another man have been released from the hospital to continue recovering at home.

And as the family of Rodney Edwards prepares to say goodbye, they ask for prayer above all else.

"He was a big part of our lives. Now there is going to be a part missing," Simons said.

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