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After a series of recalls, a chemical explosion at General Motors Co.’s (GM - Analyst Report) metal-stamping plant in Indiana – Marion Metal Center – has injured many employees and killed a contractor, per media reports.

While four injured workers were kept under observation at Marion General Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, four others underwent treatments for minor injuries.

The Marion Metal Center produces auto parts including blanks, stampings and sheet metal assembly for a range of General Motors vehicles, including full-size pickup trucks, at the Fort Wayne plant. For the time being, operations at the Marion Metal Center plant, which employs 1,600 workers, have been suspended. Post the incident, the employees of the first shift were sent back while the second shift was canceled. The third shift is expected to resume normal operations soon. However, only a few members of the shift will be able to work due to certain water system issues.

General Motors is investigating the incident. It was reported that the explosion occurred due to the spilling of a lethal chlorine dioxide chemical. If inhaled, the chemical can cause life-threatening lung problems apart from harming the skin and eyes.

In Dec 2009, the Indiana Department of Labor cited that the plant violated a serious safety requirement. This had led to a penalty of $845 for the automaker. However, no other violation was reported against the company.

General Motors currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked automobile stocks worth considering are Fox Factory Holding Corp (FOXF - Snapshot Report), Gentherm Incorporated (THRM - Snapshot Report) and Wabash National Corp. (WNC - Snapshot Report). All of these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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