Fire officials say the Bostik Plant explosion Sunday night has not adversely impacted air or water quality after several tests were conducted by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection staff.
"There has never been any issues with air or water quality," said Frank Twiss, Middleton's Fire Chief and Emergency Management director. He added the cause of the explosion that injured four employees is still under investigation.
Twiss was joined by State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, Middleton Police James DiGianvittorio, town Public Health Director Derek Fullerton, Town Administrator Ira Singer and two Bostik Plant officials, General Manager Rich Dautilio and plant manager Nat Weiner at a Monday afternoon press conference.
Coan said all four employees who were injured by the blast have since been treated and released from Beverly Hospital. He said they also returned to work today and were among the several Bostik employees interviewed by fire investigators.
Gianvittorio said Middleton Police officers will continue to hold the scene for at least the next few as federal OSHA investigators, the state Fire Marshals Office, local police and fire officials and the state DEP continues to probe the cause of the explosion and determine if any adverse environmental impacts result.
The explosion was heard by residents all over the North Shore after it happened shortly after 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. Some Peabody residents who live close to the plant say they feared the worst after they heard it.
"All of the pictures came off the walls," said Gail Taunton of West Peabody whose home is less than 1/8 of a mile from the plant's main entrance on Boston Road.
She said she has lived there for 45 years and could not recall anything even close to this happening at the Bostik plant. She said the sound of the explosion reminded her of the Danversport gas explosion that took place a few years ago.
"I thought the whole house had jumped off of the foundation," said Taunton about the Bostik Plant explosion.
Coan said his office is determined to learn what caused the blast. He said fire investigators are talking with the plant's chemical engineers a great deal to understand the chemical process that was taking place inside the building where the incident occurred. He said understanding how the chemicals are processed will help them "determine what went wrong."
"As of right now, the plant is shut down," said Twiss. He added the company's administrative building located on what company officials describe as "the hill" is still open.
Bostik's Dautilio said it will take a long time for the plant to rebuild the damaged building, but thankfully none of the four employees that were inside the building at the time of the explosion suffered any serious or life threatening injuries.
"They were in the building," he said, but they suffered "no broken bones, no burns."
Dautilio would not release the names of the any of the employees who were injured. "There has been nothing like this in the 26 years I have been here."
When asked what he believes caused the explosion, Dautilio said the four employees and other staff members who were on duty were making solvent based adhesives.
"But what happened during that process, I don't know," he said.
Weiner said just under 200 people work at the plant and there are two shifts that work in the building where the explosion occurred. He said four employees work on each shift along with some supervisors and chemical engineers. The plant operates 24 hours a day/seven days a week.