SOUTH BEND — A 45-year-old man is dead after welding materials sparked a small explosion today at a recycling center south of downtown.
Fire officials say 45-year-old Jonathan Atkinson, of South Bend, was found dead at the scene and two other people suffered from burns and smoke inhalation during the explosion and subsequent fire in a machine shop at the Green Tech Transfer and Recycling Station at 2400 Green Tech Drive.
Just before 11:30 a.m., the South Bend Fire Department received a call of an explosion at the recycling center, located at the corner of Eckman and Green Tech Drive, near the Southside Little League fields on Ewing Avenue.
Fire Chief Howard Buchanon said crews arrived to find the explosion had sparked a small fire, which was nearly subdued by the time firefighters arrived.
According to fire investigators, the explosion and fire were ignited by welding materials in a shop area of the recycling center.