Feds: Lack of Safeguards Led to Mass. Chemical Explosion

May 15, 2008

Federal investigators have concluded that a lack of company safeguards such as alarms and automatic shutoffs led to a massive chemical plant explosion in Danvers.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is expected to issue a report Tuesday that confirms solvent vapors accumulated and exploded when an ink-mixing tank was left heating overnight in November 2006.

The blast at the facility, shared by ink manufacturer CAI and paint and adhesive maker Arnel, destroyed 19 buildings and damaged about 250 others. No one was killed.

The board’s draft report indicates steam heat to a mixing tank was inadvertently left on by an operator before he left for the day.

The report also found that CAI did not follow regulations for the handling of flammable solvents, and called for changes in national fire safety codes.

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