UPDATE: Army ammunition plant to restart operations after fire - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Army ammunition plant to restart operations after fire

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photo courtesy: WSLS-TV photo courtesy: WSLS-TV

RADFORD, Va. (AP) - Officials say some production is restarting at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia after a fire injured three workers this week.

The U.S. Army owns the plant and defense contractor BAE Systems operates it. They said Thursday that officials have determined the facility is ready for a staggered restart, with full production resuming by Monday.

Their news release says an investigation is under way to determine the cause of Monday evening's flash fire.

Three workers were taken to a local hospital, then transferred to a North Carolina hospital. One has been discharged and a hospital spokeswoman said Thursday that two remained in critical condition.

The facility on thousands of acres is one of southwest Virginia's largest employers.

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Three employees were injured in a fire Tuesday night at the U.S. Army's Radford Ammunition Plant.

The injured employees were working for the contractor BAE Systems. They were hurt during a flash fire in the nitrocellulose drying facility, which assists in the production of propellant used in ammunition. 

“The health and safety of our employees, our neighbors, and the local community remains our highest priority,"  said Brian Gathright, vice president and general manager for BAE Systems. "Therefore all related production operations are currently suspended."

Production will resume when the facility is deemed safe.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the employees who were injured,” said Lt. Colonel James Scott. “Making ammunition is dangerous work and our employees risk their lives to protect our men and women in uniform."

All three injured workers remain hospitalized. The extent of their injuries is not known.

The Radford Army Ammunition Plant employs 1,090 government and contract employees.

*Information courtesy of WSLS-TV in Roanoke, VA

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