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Middleton Chemical Plant Explodes, Injuring 4

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File photo of the Middleton chemical plant explosion that injured four people in March, 2011.

File photo of the Middleton chemical plant explosion that injured four people in March, 2011.

Carl Stevens’ Journal
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MIDDLETON (CBS/AP) - A chemical plant exploded Sunday evening, shaking nearby homes, injuring four people and raising concerns about water and air safety.

The explosion caused a fire at one of the Bostik Inc. buildings in an industrial complex in Middleton on Route 62, also known as Boston Street. The fire at the plant, which manufactures plastics and adhesives, was put out about an hour after the explosion was reported at 7:39 p.m.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod got a look inside the plant Monday.

The four people who were hurt suffered injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening, authorities said. They went through a decontamination procedure at a hospital and were later released.

The explosion damaged two buildings in the complex, and debris was widespread, officials said.

“The explosion was both heard and felt for several miles around the area of the plant,” state Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said.

Coan said conversations with workers who were inside the plant could make investigators’ jobs much easier.

Federal, state and local investigators were all on scene Monday.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Kim Tunnicliffe talked with Fire Marshal Coan.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS

Hazardous-materials and environmental protection teams were called to monitor the quality of the air and water because of runoff into the neighborhood around the plant, where several homes have wells.

E.P.A. officials said on Monday that their tests did not detect any air contamination. There were small amounts of chemicals detected in the water, but according to officials, it was not a significant amount.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Karen Twomey reports.

“There’s no issues concerning air quality. There’s no environmental concerns relative to air quality in the area. They’re looking at water quality now with the DEP,” said Chief Frank Twist of the Middleton Fire Department.

They also said they are continuing to monitor the environment, including the nearby Ipswich River.

AREA RESIDENTS: BLAST FELT “LIKE AN EARTHQUAKE”

Residents in the immediate area felt the effect from the blast. Share your story by commenting below.

Beverly Peterson lives about a quarter of a mile from the plant and said she felt the blast.

“Oh, yeah, it shook our house something fierce,” she said.

Peterson said her son-in-law and a friend’s nephew work at the plant. She said her son-in-law was working when the plant exploded but wasn’t injured.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Carl Stevens reports.

More from Carl Stevens’ Journal

One man said his home was not damage despite living very near the site of the blast.

“It was crazy. We were sitting on the couch a little after 7, and the explosion rocked me off the couch almost. The whole house shook,” said Eddie Deao.

He said he and his family went outside and the air was thick with acrid smoke.

“It was like a sulfur type chemical smell. It’s hard to describe, but you could smell something in the air,” said Deao.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Smith reports.

Joe Vieira, meanwhile, lives two miles away but still heard the explosion.

“All of a sudden we heard this big explosion…felt like either an earthquake or a gas explosion. We thought it was a plane crash, that’s how bad the boom was. It shook everything,” Viera said.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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