Safety Plan Works in Chemical Fire

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 @ 04:04 PM gHale

A company’s safety plan worked after titanium powder exposed to moisture in the air caused a small fire in a laboratory at a commercial building north of Brewster, NY, last Wednesday, officials said.

Firefighters got the call to Materion Corp. in Southeast, NY, shortly after 11 a.m. When they arrived, they found employees already extinguished much of the blaze with a dry chemical extinguisher, Brewster Fire Chief Tom Leather said. Three dozen workers evacuated the building. A hazardous materials crew also responded.

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“They followed all their safety protocols beautifully,” he said.

Materion is part of an Ohio-based company that produces precious and non-precious metals, inorganic chemicals and powders, specialty coatings, specialty engineered beryllium alloys, beryllium and beryllium composites, and engineered and plated metal systems.

One worker suffered a burn on his hand and emergency personnel took him by ambulance to nearby Danbury Hospital in Connecticut.

The explosion occurred when the worker opened a paint can-sized container of titanium powder, a highly flammable metal. The chemical reacted to moisture in the atmosphere and exploded.

The damage ended up contained to a bench in a research and development lab in the building.

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