For Immediate Release:
February 14, 2020
Contact: Jennifer Mieth, (978) 567-3189
Chemical Reaction Cause of Newburyport Explosion
STOW – State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Newburyport Deputy Fire Chief Steven Bradbury said the cause of yesterday’s explosion at the PCI Synthesis chemical processing facility at 9 Opportunity Way, Newburyport was a chemical reaction. Fortunately no one was injured.
The plant was operational at the time of the incident as it runs 24-hours a day. A sprinkler system activation notified the fire department at about 4:15 a.m.
Investigators have determined that several explosions occurred during a sampling procedure of product from a large vat.
The Newburyport Fire Department requested a Joint Hazard Incident Response Team (JHIRT) response which included a state Hazardous Materials Team and specially trained members of the State Police Bomb Squad. The Department of Fire Services’ Special Operations Unit was able to provide drone footage to help with the assessment. Once the situation was stabilized and deemed safe for entry without personal protective equipment, investigators from the Newburyport Fire and Police Departments and State Police fire investigators and explosive technicians, assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, were able to enter and complete their forensic scene examination.