Eggnog Blasts Injures Two

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 @ 09:08 PM gHale

A mechanical failure apparently caused two explosions at a food laboratory mixing eggnog ingredients in Totowa, NJ, Saturday, leaving two workers with cuts and bruises.

Totowa Fire Marshal Allen Del Vecchio said he felt the blast from Pharmachem Laboratories in Totowa at his house a mile away.

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Pharmachem produces ingredients that flavor foods. Workers say they had just started on a new recipe for eggnog when the blast occurred.

Del Vecchio said the first explosion apparently came from a furnace-like device that was heating a vat containing eggnog flavoring ingredients. A subsequent blast apparently involved a pocket of hot air or gas that had built up inside the vat.

The entire rear of the building ended up blown out.

Del Vecchio said if this occurred during the work week the incident could have been worse as a skeleton crew was on duty Saturday.

“People could have been killed — normal operation, you’d have had five, ten people working in there — that’s how violent the explosion was,” Del Vecchio said. “The damage was in the millions.”

Initial reports of the explosion described the blast as coming from the vat, leaving open the question of whether somehow the cause could have been from the eggnog flavor ingredients, which were not immediately available.

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