BREAKING NEWS–GROTON, CT — Six people were injured, two seriously, in an explosion at the Pfizer Corp. manufacturing complex, a company spokeswoman says.
“There was an explosion in a storage building and I’m told the roof was opened up like a tin can,” a dispatcher told Reuters. “But the fire is out and cleanup has begun.”
The explosion occurred at about 8:15 a.m. inside a small chemical storage warehouse that supplies Building 196-A, a building used to make small quantities of test pharmaceuticals, Pfizer spokeswoman Liz Power says.
There was a drum of a chemical in the storage facility that began to smolder and then exploded, Power said. There was a fire that was contained to the warehouse, she said.
“It shook homes in the area,” Groton police officer Dale Grestiner says. “Some of the callers have said there is some black smoke in the area.”
One injured Pfizer employee, described as man in his 30s, was transported by helicopter to the burn unit of Bridgeport Hospital with burns over the top half of his body, according to a hospital spokesperson John Capiello. He suffered both chemical burns and burns from the explosion. The hospital was expecting another victim, he said.
Four people suffered minor injuries, and were treated at the plant’s employee health center, Power says, adding that it was not clear what chemicals were involved.
Fire officials from several nearby towns responded to the explosion. Investigators from the state Department of Environmental protection were also on the scene. There were no evacuations of nearby residents, and no danger to the community from the explosion, police said.
About 6,000 people are employed at drug manufacturing facility in Groton, where small batches of chemicals are used to make experimental drugs. The company also has its research and development headquarters across the Thames River in New London.
Four buildings at the Groton facility were evacuated, Power says. Roads in the area were blocked off.
The site is the largest research and development facility for Pfizer, which makes the impotence treatment Viagra.