GREENE TOWNSHIP, Mercer County — An explosion at a munitions manufacturer sent five people to the hospital this morning, but Chief David Jones of Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department said the incident was much less serious than it could have been.
“On one of the production lines there was really a pretty minor explosion of product,” Jones said of the blast at Combined Systems Inc. that occurred just after 9:30 a.m. “There were five people in the very immediate area that were injured and transported to the hospital. Four have been treated and released; one’s just hanging out at this point for observation.”
Recalling three or four fires in recent years that his department has responded to the supplier of munitions and tactical equipment to the defense industry and law enforcement, Jones said this morning's explosion was “pretty boring compared to normal out there anyways.”
Minor smoldering and smoke were produced by the explosion, but no fire resulted, Jones said.
No cause was identified for the explosion. Combined Systems was conducting its own investigation, Jones said. Since no fire had occurred, he said, there was no reason for a state police fire marshal to investigate.
The building in which the blast occurred had been evacuated by the time firefighters arrived at the scene, according to Jones.
“Everyone was outside the building and their safety officer said there was no fire and they were ventilating the building to get what smoke was in there out," Jones said.
Greenville Fire Department, Life Force Ambulance and Conneaut Lake Area Ambulance Service also responded to the scene, according to Jones. Other fire departments that had been dispatched were returned to service when Jamestown arrived to discover that no fire had occurred.
In March 2019, eight fire departments from Crawford and Mercer counties responded to a fire at Combined Systems.
Combined Systems designs, manufactures and markets security products for global defense and law enforcement markets, according to the company website. “As the premier supplier of less-lethal munitions and launching systems, CSI manufactures products for riot control, police tactical teams, corrections officers, and military units,” the website says.
Among its products are aerosols, chemical munitions, impact munitions, CTS Flash Bangs and Sting Ball Grenades, breaching equipment and handcuffs, according to the website.
Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.