2nd person dies in Guthrie chemical explosion, officials say

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:45 PM CST
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GUTHRIE, KY. (WSMV) - A second person has died after a chemical explosion at a facility last week.

Todd County officials said Alex Wix, 21, of Westmoreland, Tennessee, died on Monday afternoon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was the driver of the Onsite Environmental truck involved in the incident.

The explosion happened on Jan. 18, when a chemical reaction blew a 500-pound tank through the wall of the Quick Turn Anodizing facility where it killed Bryan Bonilla, a worker inside.

In addition, two other people were seriously injured during the explosion.

Benn Andrew Stahl, from Trenton Ky., suffered serious burns and was released from Vanderbilt and is recovering at home. Stahl was a Guthrie city employee who responded to the initial incident.

Todd County emergency managers say a vacuum truck waste hauler was removing a chemical solution called ‘lye’ from the Quick Turn facility when it began smoking or steaming.

Stahl was eating lunch at American Cafe nearby and went to see if he could help when the tank’s end cap blew open.

J. Lee Powell, President of Quick Turn Anodizing, also suffered serious injuries. He has been released from Vanderbilt and is recovering at home.

Investigators believe the chemical solution inside the tank somehow got mixed with an organic fat, like cooking oil, that caused the water in the solution to boil. The pressure got so high the tank blew, emergency managers said. The tank contained about 300 gallons of the solution.