Fire investigators in upstate New York say a cosmetics factory fire that killed one and led to 125 people seeking hospital treatment was ignited by static electricity.
Orange County fire officials determined the Nov. 20 fire began when the static electricity ignited a flammable liquid during the manufacturing process at the Verla International factory in New Windsor.
The 37-year-old New Windsor-based company’s website says the products it makes include nail polish, perfumes, lotions and other products.
The first explosion occurred around 10:15 a.m. at the factory located about an hour’s drive north of New York City. Firefighters who responded were inside when the second explosion occurred around 10:40 a.m.
Eight firefighter were injured in the blast, with two taken to the burn unit at Westchester Medical Center, Newburgh Town Supervisor George Green said.
Video obtained by WABC-TV in New York City showed thick, black smoke spewing from a section of the roof of the sprawling facility, which includes manufacturing and warehouse buildings. Workers milled about a parking lot while fire crews looked on.
The Times Herald-Record reports town officials cleared the company to allow employees to return to work in undamaged parts of the property Tuesday. The makeup, fragrance and nail polish manufacturer has 225 employees.