Worker improves after explosion at Intalco smelter in Ferndale

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An Alcoa Intalco Works employee injured in an explosion at the aluminum smelter last week has been moved from intensive care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Industrial electrician Hans Eriksson was in satisfactory condition Monday, Oct. 17, a hospital official said.

Eriksson was injured in an apparent explosion at the plant about 10:15 a.m,. Thursday, Oct. 13, said Glenn Farmer of the International Association of Machinists Local 2379.

Farmer said workers who were present when the explosion occurred said Eriksson was working on an air compressor atop a crane when the compressor exploded. “We don’t know the details,” Farmer said. “There was an explosion and an air line hit him in the face.”

Intalco spokesman Josh Wilund said Whatcom County Fire District 7 firefighters treated Eriksson at the scene and took him by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital, where he was flown to Harborview Medical Center.

“Alcoa is working to determine the cause of the incident,” Wilund said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty