Explosion and Fire at Fiberglass Plant

23 February 2003

An explosion and fire ripped through an CTA Acoustics plant on Thursday, injuring 26 workers, 10 critically.

The cause of the explosion at CTA Acoustics was not immediately known, although in began near a furnace where fiberglass is mixed with resin and molded into sheets. The blaze sent black smoke billowing through residential areas, forcing hundreds of people to temporarily evacuate.

Ten people remained in critical condition at hospital burn units on Friday, a day after an explosion and fire ravaged the insulation factory where they worked.

Carl Vasilko, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said investigators got into the building for the first time Friday morning. He said they had interviewed several employees but had not determined what triggered the explosion.

State and federal environmental officials said the plant had released ammonia and phenol, a hazardous chemical compound, but not at levels that threatened human health.

The factory was not destroyed, although the blast knocked down inner walls and left an outer wall bulging. Authorities said they do not know when the factory might reopen.

Share this story