4 injured in Middleton Bostik plant explosion
MIDDLETON, Mass. -- A chemical plant exploded Sunday evening, shaking nearby homes, injuring four people and raising concerns about water and air safety.
The cause is still unknown a day since the blast.
“We’re not in a position now to share any preliminary cause or to suggest much more about the details of the chemical process that was taking place at the time of the incident,” said Stephen Coan, Mass. State Fire Marshal.
The explosion rocked the Bostik Chemical Plant in Middleton just before 8 p.m. Sunday. The explosion rocked the facility and surrounding neighborhoods.
“Sitting there, all of a sudden - boom - an explosion” said Charlie Veradt, who heard the explosion. “I knew right off the bat that it was down the street.”
“About 7:30 and we were sitting having dinner and then all of the sudden we thought the house was caving in,” said Joyce Cucchiara, who lives near the explosion. “It was just unbelievable.”
Neighbors said it sounded like a sonic boom that people felt for miles.
“It sounded like an earthquake or something. That’s how bad it was,” said Joe Vieira. “It was a big boom.”
“And the house really shook. It was real loud. The dog went wild,” said one man.
Bostik manufactures plastics and adhesives, and part of the fire investigation will be to figure out which chemicals were being used at the time. Its general manager said even he isn’t sure.
“I don’t know what chemicals cause I don’t know what product is being made,” said Rich Dautilio, Bostik General Manager.
There was enough concern about the chemicals to have a decontamination tent setup at the hospital for the three men and one woman who were injured during the explosion. All were treated and released.
Troopers from The State Fire Marshal's Office have been interviewing witnesses, including the four injured employees who were on site at the plant Monday.
Chief Twiss’ department has recorded complaints from some in the area who said a bad smell emanating from the plant bothered them, and some even felt nose and eye irritation.
“We had a third party come in, interview the people that had the complaints and they did their own odor monitoring in the area and we’re in the middle of that investigation,” said one man.
There are some environmental concerns, and MassDEP was on site. Experts took samples from the Ipswich River, which is adjacent to the plant. They’ve also tested the air for contaminants.
“The air looks good. So far the water - we only found traces of organic compounds,” said Kingsley Ndi of MassDEP. “I think we’re pretty lucky.”
Hazardous-materials and environmental protection teams were called to monitor the quality of the air and water because of runoff into the neighborhood around the plant, where several homes have wells.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating. The US Chemical Safety Board officials were on the scene Monday trying to determine the cause of the blast.
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