A worker at an industrial park in Newburyport, Massachusetts, has gone missing after a chemical explosion on Thursday morning turned into a blaze that left the building with major structural damage.
According to the Newburyport Fire Department, the blast took place at the PCI Synthesis facility on Opportunity Way in the industrial park. The authorities received the first reports of the explosion at around 12:45 a.m. on Thursday.
Firefighters discovered an industrial-sized vat sitting in a parking lot, burnt to a crisp after it had moved 30 feet from inside the building due to the explosion.
There were reportedly five workers inside the building at the time of the explosion. Four of them were taken to a nearby hospital to get checked out but one is still missing. The other four have been treated and released from the hospital.
The building has suffered major structural damage due to the blast, which is preventing emergency workers from accessing the inside of the building to conduct their search and rescue mission.
Heavy foam is being used instead of water to douse out the fire. The building grounds are littered with various kinds of debris as a result of the fire and explosion. People have been asked in the industrial park area to avoid Opportunity Way for the time being. The park has been closed but the public has been assured by officials that there is no danger to the nearby residents.
PCI Synthesis said in a statement that the company was grateful for the support and prompt response of first responders. It added that “all our attention is focused on the situation of our employees.”
This is not the first explosion at this site. Previously, in February 2020, there was a series of explosions at this site, one of which blew a hole through the roof and also forced the evacuation of the building