Fatal Explosion at Pharmaceuticals Plant in Massachusetts Under Investigation

Posted on 5/8/2023 by Roger Marks

One employee was killed in a chemical explosion at a pharmaceutical plant In Newburyport, Massachusetts that occurred around 1:00 AM on Thursday, May 4. 

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation. Statements from fire officials suggest that the incident was related to a chemical process that is a normal part of the plant’s operations. An industrial vat launched into the air by the explosion punched a hole in the plant’s roof and landed in the parking lot. 

Environmental sampling taking at the site indicate no ongoing danger to human health or the environment, officials said. In addition to hazmat responders and firefighters present at the scene, representatives from US EPA, OSHA, and other environmental and safety agencies visited the site.

Records show that OSHA opened an inspection of the facility that day. 

On May 5, the Associated Press reported: 

“Fire crews in Newburyport were still cleaning up the site, a day after what they described as a seven-alarm hazardous materials event that tore the roof off the building and sprayed debris as far as 800 feet away from the facility.” 

That day, response crews removed hazardous materials from the building, including “about four dozen large barrels containing chemicals including acetone, methanol and isopropyl alcohol,” according to the AP.

On May 8, NBC/NECN in Boston reported

“On Monday, hazardous materials technicians and crews remained on scene, removing the final eight 55-gallon drums of chemicals and draining about 2,000 gallons of chemicals from chemical reactors at the plant, city officials said.” 

The mayor of Newburyport has reportedly ordered the owner of the plant to demolish the affected building this week.

Tags: emergency response, hazardous materials

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