Explosion blows hole in Newburyport chemical plant roof

(Boston 25 News)

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. — A Newburyport fire official confirmed around 5:30 a.m. that emergency crews were responding to 9 Opportunity Way for a hazmat incident, and explosions were reported inside the building.

“We got the fire alarm here at about 4:30 this morning,” Deputy Chief Stephen Bradbury told news media on scene Thursday morning. “We immediately encountered three explosions.”

Deputy Chief Bradbury said the fire department evacuated immediately and set up outside to wait on a hazmat team before three more explosions went off. Bradbury said they are still investigating the cause of the explosions, which left a large hole in the roof of the building.

The address is the headquarters for PCI Synthesis, a chemical manufacturing company, with “more than 20 years of experience in contract chemical manufacturing,” according to the company’s website.

Another fire official said just after 6 a.m. that firefighters were at the scene and were waiting on the state hazmat team before entering the building.

The company sent a statement to Boston 25 News Thursday morning, saying, “We are working diligently with local authorities to assess the extent of the damage. We are an FDA-inspected site, manufacturing ingredients used in medicines. We follow an extensive set of safety protocols and work closely with authorities and conduct training at our facility with emergency teams. All employees on site at the time were safely evacuated and no injuries have been reported. We will provide more information when we learn more. We want to thank the police and fire departments who responded quickly.”

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Officials have not reentered the building since the initial explosion around 4:30 a.m. and are bringing in specialized hazmat equipment.

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