A part of Newburyport manufacturing unit to be demolished after lethal chemical explosion


Officers are nonetheless investigating the reason for the explosion on the Seqens pharmaceutical plant, however say it doesn’t seem suspicious.

The addition to the Seqens pharmaceutical plant in Newburyport the place a vat exploded final week can be torn down. Newburyport Fireplace Division

The Metropolis of Newburyport has ordered a part of the Seqens pharmaceutical manufacturing unit to be torn down within the wake of a “violent” chemical explosion that killed one employee final week.

On Could 4, a bit of earlier than 12:45 a.m., an industrial-sized vat contained in the manufacturing unit at 9 Alternative Manner blew by means of the roof, inflicting the constructing to catch fireplace.

4 of the 5 staff who had been contained in the manufacturing unit on the time had been taken to a hospital and later launched. However the harm to the constructing made it tough for first responders to rescue the fifth employee, 62-year-old Methuen resident Jack O’Keefe, whose physique was recovered over 12 hours later.

Cleansing up after the explosion

Crews started cleansing up the hazardous supplies on the manufacturing unit on Friday and labored by means of the weekend. On Monday, they eliminated the ultimate eight 55-gallon drums of chemical substances and drained round 2,000 gallons of chemical substances, officers stated.

Metropolis officers anticipated to complete the clean-up on Monday, however stated they stopped early when sturdy winds began shifting the partitions of the broken manufacturing unit.

“Robust winds this afternoon had been regarding sufficient that, in our judgement, it was decided that the situations weren’t protected sufficient to proceed the work of eradicating the remaining hazardous supplies from the Seqens facility at present,” Newburyport Fireplace Chief Steven Bradbury III stated in a information launch.

“Throughout this delicate operation, the security of the primary responders and work crews comes first.”

The constructing is being supported by a crane, and officers stated there isn’t a hazard of imminent collapse. They anticipate the clean-up to renew Tuesday.

If no additional risks or issues are found, metropolis officers stated, they may clear the scene and a contractor will demolish the manufacturing unit addition the place the explosion occurred.

Earlier than work stopped Monday, town anticipated the demolition to start Tuesday afternoon and gave Seqens, previously PCI Synthesis, till Wednesday at 8 a.m. to start the demolition. It’s unclear if that deadline can be pushed in mild of the early work stoppage.

Investigating the reason for the explosion

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    Physique of lacking employee positioned following ‘violent’ Newburyport manufacturing unit explosion, officers say

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The explosion seems to have been attributable to a problem within the chemical manufacturing course of and doesn’t seem suspicious, officers stated. Even so, native and state fireplace officers and police are nonetheless investigating.

OSHA can also be investigating, and up to now has fined Seqens for “critical” office violations. The EPA has additionally accused the corporate of violating many federal and state hazardous waste legal guidelines on the plant.

That is not less than the third time within the final 5 years that emergency responders have been known as to the Seqens plant, although that is the primary time anybody has been injured or killed.

Officers stated the clean-up course of has been labeled as a Tier 1 Hazmat Incident, the bottom severity stage.

Originally posted 2023-05-09 01:45:53.