Two workers at a Connecticut chrome plating company were transported to a burn hospital after a process “went awry” and sparked a flash fire that firefighters were still battling hours later, a task made more difficult by the numerous chemicals at the facility.
“It’s a plating company, so they have quite a few chemicals in there, including acid, etc.,” said Meriden Fire Chief Ken Morgan. “So those are the ones that we’re concerned with, the ones that are really toxic.”
Morgan said the condition of the workers was unknown. But he acknowledged it’s likely their injuries are “pretty significant” considering both were transported to the burn center at Bridgeport Hospital rather than the local hospital.
“The building was occupied at the time by staff,” said Morgan, noting the call for help came in at 10:50 a.m. from CRC Chrome in Meriden. “There was some process going on. Something went awry in the process and a flash fire occurred.”
Hours later, fire crews were still carefully battling the fire, which Morgan said was in the walls of the structure. He said the complicated work could continue into the night.
“Typically, we don’t worry too much about how much water we’re putting into a building. With something like this, since we’re not 100% sure of what chemicals could react with the water or how they’re going to react, we have to be very careful about where we put water, how much we put there,” Morgan said. Air emissions and water runoff were also being monitored. Neighbors were being urged to shelter in place.
Emergency crews from about seven communities, including hazardous materials teams, were called to the scene and to provide coverage for the Meriden Fire Department. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was also on hand.
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