The accident happened around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Resolute Forest Products plant in Catawba.
County emergency management director Cotton Howell says two employees climbed into an old tank outside the main production area to do some maintenance work. Howell says it’s possible that some type of chemical leaked into the tank.
One of the workers was removed from the tank and is being treated for injuries. The other person died at the scene. The names of the victims have not been released.
Howell says no evacuation was necessary.
The plant employs about 700 people and makes commercial printing papers and market pulp.