Port firefighters fight chemical fire at PCI Synthesis / Seqens | Local News
NEWBURYPORT – The Newburyport Fire Department battled a chemical blaze at a factory in the city’s industrial park on Friday night, the second such fire in the business in a year and a half.
Fire Chief Christopher J. LeClaire said in a statement that crews responded to the activation of a fire alarm at PCI Synthesis / Seqens, a pharmaceutical chemicals company, located at 9 Opportunity Way at 5:36 p.m. Friday. . When engine 5 arrived, firefighters found thick smoke billowing from several roof vents and called for a working fire response. Minutes later, firefighters determined it was a chemical fire, so LeClaire called for a second alarm response.
Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire after about 20 minutes, aided by the sprinkler system operating in the building. As chemicals are stored and used in the building, a Level 1 Hazardous Materials incident has been declared, in accordance with Commonwealth Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Protocols. The hazardous materials declaration sent a regional team of specialists to the scene to assist the Newburyport firefighters.
The teams determined that there was no danger to the public.
The incident was declared under control at 6:48 p.m.
“Incidents in large industrial plants should be handled with the utmost care and caution. Fortunately, we have an extensive support network and well-trained regional Hazmat teams who respond quickly to these types of incidents. ‘incidents,’ LeClaire said. “Fortunately, there is no danger to the public.”
No injuries were reported. The origin and cause of the fire are under investigation.
In addition to the Hazmat team, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection responded to the scene.
Fire crews from Amesbury, Newbury, Salisbury and Seabrook, NH responded to the scene to assist each other. Crews from Rowley, West Newbury and Hampton, NH provided cover for the station in Newburyport during the incident. Cataldo Ambulance also provided emergency and rehabilitation / support services to the firefighters at the scene.
The same Seqens factory was the site of a serious fire and a Level 2 Hazmat incident in February 2020.
In the 2020 incident, a series of explosions cut a hole in the roof and forced the evacuation of PCI, but no one was injured, the deputy fire chief said. The explosions forced the evacuation of several buildings near the Opportunity Way complex.
Deputy Chief Stephen Bradbury said at the time that when firefighters responded to a fire alarm call at around 4.30 a.m. they saw smoke inside the factory. As firefighters investigated the smoke, three explosions occurred in a different room, so they immediately left the building.
According to PCI’s website in early 2020, the facility measures over 75,000 square feet and is equipped with 22 reactors with a capacity of over 20,000 gallons.
In 2015, PCI Sythesis was fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a violation involving 23 people. It was classified “serious” by the federal security agency.