NEWBURYPORT — A hazardous materials team responded to a call at a Newburyport chemical plant early Thursday morning after reports were received of several explosions in the facility, according to authorities.
Newburyport Deputy Fire Chief Stephen Bradbury indicated that firefighters evacuated the PCI Synthesis building on 9 Opportunity Way at approximately 4:30 a.m. after a routine alarm response. Upon investigating, firefighters reported hearing three explosions in the plant. Upon evacuating, three additional explosions were heard, including one which resulted in an eight-foot-wide hole in the roof.
Bradbury indicated that while workers were on the premises during the time of the explosions, no reports of injuries have been received.
“We made entry with a robot, got a good picture of the situation and we’re going to put together a plan to try to resolve it,” Bradbury said during a news conference, adding that the roof was designed to blow open in case of high pressure in the building.
OSHA records indicate PCI Synthesis was previously fined last year for over nine violations of process safety management for hazardous chemicals.
“We're working diligently with local authorities after reports of an explosion at our Newburyport facility,” reported SEQENS, the current owner of PCI Synthesis in a tweet. “We will provide more information when we learn more. Thanks to police & fire for their quick response.”
While the cause of the explosions remains under investigation, reports have been received that state police had dispatched a bomb squad to the site. According to Bradbury, three nearby businesses were ordered closed for the day as a precaution while investigators determine the cause. The building is expected to reopen upon clearance of the site.
Image via Wikimedia Commons