Coroner identifies victim in explosion at DSM Resins

A man is dead after an explosion Wednesday afternoon at a chemical plant in Augusta.


Richmond County Coroner Mark Bowen confirmed the death at the DSM Resins plant on Columbia Nitrogen Road. The victim was Steven Gonsalves, 29, of Beech Island.

According to Augusta Fire Chief Chris James, the explosion was caused by a welding accident.

Two other workers have been taken to a hospital after undergoing decontamination for chemical exposure, James said.

No evacuation of the plant was necessary, he said.

Bowen said Gonsalves was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:10 p.m. and after the next of kin was notified he released the name of the victim. His body will be sent to the GBI Crime Lab for an autopsy.

The plant, which produces powder-coat paint resins, is part of a massive industrial complex that includes the recently shuttered Fibrant caprolactam plant – which was formerly owned by DSM – and an adjacent nitrogen plant operated by Canadian fertilizer company PotashCorp.

In a statement, Hugh Welsh, the president of DSM North America, said the three men were not DSM employees.

“Based on current information these were contractors working on site,” Welsh said.

He said the incident will be investigated by DSM.

“We are deeply saddened by the incident that occurred today at the DSM site in Augusta,” Welsh said. “Our thoughts are with the family of the man who suffered a fatal injury as well as the two men who were injured in the accident.”