Massachusetts Chemical Plant Re-Opens a Day After a Series of Explosions

February 18, 2020

A Massachusetts chemical manufacturing plant re-opened Friday, a day after at least six explosions at the facility forced workers to evacuate and blew a hole in the roof.

Seqens North America, formerly PCI Synthesis, in Newburyport, in a statement Friday said the problem was isolated.

“Most of the facility was untouched and is completely operational; the affected suite represents one small, isolated room,” the company statement said. “We want to thank the authorities for their quick work in ensuring the facility is safe and ready to re-open so that we can get back to work.”

The company makes chemicals used in medicines.

Firefighters responding to an alarm at 4:30 a.m. Thursday encountered “heavy black smoke” and evacuated the building after hearing three explosions, officials said.

There were about 10 workers in the building at the time. Three more explosions took place about 15 minutes later, including one that blew a 5-foot-by-8-foot hole in the roof, officials said.

No injuries were reported and there was no public health threat.

The cause of the explosions remains under investigation, but the company on Thursday blamed the problem on “a mechanical issue from our steam line.”

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