FL Chemical Plant Blast

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 @ 09:01 AM gHale

An explosion at a pesticide factory ripped through the TriEst Ag Group Inc. facility in Palmetto, FL, last Tuesday.

“Currently, this particular plant makes pesticides for the farm industry,” said North River Fire District Fire Chief Michael S. Rampino, who was on scene Tuesday. “They were mixing a few different types of chemicals. Obviously, there was a reaction to those chemicals.”

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Firefighters to the call at 4:45 p.m. about an explosion, which could be heard a mile away.

Manatee County EMS, the Hazardous Materials response team from Southern Manatee Fire Rescue and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office also arrived on scene. A few sheriff’s office vehicles parked in front of the entrance of the private road that leads to the business in order to block the public. The smell of chemicals permeated the area.

Rampino said there were no injuries. He said the explosion was extensive and debris landed about 200-300 yards away on the road and a nearby field.

“At this point in time, what we’re going to do is have our Hazardous Materials Team go in, look everything over, see exactly what they were dealing with,” Rampino said. “Then, they can break down each one of those chemicals and what they can or cannot do. But currently, as it stands for this particular area in the neighborhood, nobody’s in any immediate danger.”

U.S. 41 remained closed for a short time but has since reopened, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Based in Greenville, NC, TriEst produces fumigation products for the agriculture industry. One of its products is a line of polyethylene film applied to row crops including tomatoes and berries. The film works as a fumigation barrier, according to the company’s website.