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Westward Explosion Was Probably An 'Industrial Accident,' Say Police

Unalaska Dept. of Public Safety

The fishmeal plant at Westward Seafoods is still closed after an explosion last month caused more than $100,000 worth of damage. But police say they may have identified the cause of the blast, which they're calling an "industrial accident."

Investigator Chris Honan of the Unalaska Department of Public Safey said a saltwater pipe that burst shortly before the explosion may have been the "point of ignition."

That's still unconfirmed, but Deputy Police Chief Jennifer Shockley said it's likely the pipe produced friction as it ruptured, sparking the fishmeal dust in the air.

"Fishmeal is flammable," said Shockley. "Kind of like fertilizer."

Shockley said police are almost finished with their investigation and there's no reason to suspect foul play.

Meanwhile, Westward's plant manager Dan Le said employees are still cleaning up the fishmeal plant before they can replace damaged pipes, siding, and doors.

The rest of the plant is operating normally, and Le said the goal is to have the fishmeal area up and running again before pollock "A" season starts in January.

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