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Explosion Hits Auto-Parts Maker

April 5, 1985

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ An explosion hit an automobile parts factory Thursday, blasting a hole in a wall and injuring four people, authorities said.

The 1:38 p.m. blast at MacDonald’s Industrial Products Inc. apparently was caused when a plant worker erroneously connected a natural gas line to a water cooler line, said Dick Bellows, a spokesman for Michigan Consolidated Gas.

Paul Kazmierski, 45, was admitted to Blodgett Memorial Medical Center in critical condition, and Howard Maki, 31, was admitted in serious condition, said a nurse who spoke on condition that she not be identified. Both suffered from second- and third-degree burns, she said.

Naaman Spague, 50, and Richard Smith, 31, were held for observation. Sprague was in fair condition and Smith was in good condition, both with burns, the nurse said.

MacDonald’s makes trim parts for automobiles. On Monday, a little more than 100 United Auto Workers employees struck the company after rejecting a contract proposal.

Chuck Sevulen, a UAW member picketing the company when the blast occurred, said the labor problems had nothing to do with the explosion. The plant has been operating since the walkout, pickets said.

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