Chemical Blast Forces Evacuation

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 11:06 AM gHale

An explosion caused by a faulty part at a Dunn, NC, chemical plant Saturday forced an evacuation of parts of the city, officials said.

The blast also shut down the local highway connection between Cumberland and Harnett counties for almost five hours Saturday.

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U.S. 301 was blockaded between East Canary Street and Long Branch Road beginning at 9:14 a.m. after an explosion at Brainerd Chemical located at 1600 S. Wilson Ave. in Dunn. The chemical plant produces cleaners. 

A half mile radius around the plant ended up evacuated, officials said. The railroad tracks were also shut down as first responders from multiple agencies responded to the scene. 

“We had an explosion over here,” said Harnett County Emergency Services Director Jimmy Riddle. “Everything is contained to speak of and we’re working with the Fayetteville regional response team; the HazMat team. We’re working with them. They are doing some monitoring for us.”

Riddle said there was a small fire, but it was put out quickly. One worker suffered an injury in the incident.

“They have already been checked out and released from the hospital,” he added. 

By 2 p.m., the evacuation order ended up lifted.

“Everything went as well as it could have,” Riddle said afterward. 

Riddle said the explosion took place due to a part failure at the plant during one of the chemical processes, allowing the product to escape. 

“It was not human error,” he said. 

A press release from the City of Fayetteville Fire/Emergency Management Department said there was an accidental release of hydrogen peroxide and sulfuric acid, which was being mixed to make a commercial grade disinfectant used to clean and disinfect poultry farms.

“The release was controlled and all product was contained on site,” the release said, which was sent out during the course of the incident. “The Fayetteville Fire/Emergency Management Department’s Hazardous Materials Team (also known as North Carolina Regional Response Team 3), also responded to assist with the incident. The area, which includes only businesses and four private residences, remains evacuated until air monitoring on the property is completed. Hazardous materials crews were conducting air monitoring operations to ensure the environment is safe prior to releasing the building back to the owner.”

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