Death toll rises to four at US plant explosion

20 December 2007 16:54  [Source: ICIS news]

A column of smoke rises from the site of T2 LaboratoriesHOUSTON (ICIS news)--The death toll from an explosion at a solvents plant in Florida has reached four, a spokesman for the Jacksonville fire department said on Thursday.

In addition, 14 people were sent to hospitals, said Tom Francis, a spokesman for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department.

The plant exploded on Wednesday shortly before 2 pm Eastern time (1900 GMT) at T2 Laboratories, Francis said. The cause of the blast is under investigation.

At one time, there were about 100 firefighters at the site, he said.

The department evacuated the area along a half-mile (0.8 km) radius of the fire, Francis said.

However, few people had left the area, since the fire was in an industrial area, he said. The evacuation was called off after an hour.

The fire was under control at about 5 pm, Francis said. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating the cause of the blaze.

The office was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

In addition, the US Chemical Safety Board and the state's fire marshal's office is also investigating the blast, Francis said.

T2 Laboratories makes limonene- and terpene-based solvents, according to the company's Web site. The company also makes Ecotane, a manganese-based gasoline additive.

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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