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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post North Carolina Pharmaceutical Factory

    KINSTON, N.C. (AP) - An explosion and fire erupted at a
    pharmaceutical company's factory Wednesday afternoon, killing at
    least three people and leaving the building a shattered ruin marked
    by flames and a column of black smoke.
    Two bodies were removed from the twisted debris of the West
    Pharmaceutical Services Inc. plant and the third body was being
    taken out late Wednesday, said Chief Deral Raynor of the North
    Lenoir Fire Department, the scene commander.
    "We have a technical rescue team in there lifting some steel.
    That victim is deceased," said Greg Smith, operations chief of the
    Kinston Public Safety Department.
    Raynor said about 130 people were at the plant at the time of
    the explosion and he believed they had all been accounted for, but
    Smith said it was still too early to tell.
    They also said they had no information about whether any victims
    had died after being taken to hospitals. Lenoir Memorial Hospital
    in Kinston reported one person was dead on arrival, but county
    emergency services director Roger Dail said that person was one of
    the three counted at the scene.
    Injured victims were scattered among local hospitals and the
    North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill, but none except
    Lenior reported any other deaths as of midnight Wednesday.
    The family of missing plant worker William Gray waited late into
    the night for news at nearby Immanuel Baptist Church, long after
    other employees had been reunited with tearful relatives and gone
    home.
    "We're just scared," sister-in-law Carolyn Epps said.
    Grief-stricken wailing could be heard from inside the church a
    short time after the death toll was announced, and the despondent
    family soon left without talking to reporters.
    The devastated building continued to burn into the night, hours
    after the 1:27 p.m. explosion. The factory's condition made it hard
    to get a handle on the degree of the situation's severity, Smith
    said.
    "The damage is catastrophic to the building," he said. "The
    structure is so compromised that you just can't enter and walk
    around."
    He said debris was three to four feet deep in parts of the
    building.
    The first emergency crews on the scene repeatedly rescued plant
    workers who were dangling from steel beams in the rear section of
    the building.
    Sampson Heath, a worker who sterilized rubber for medical
    products, said he was on the other side of the plant when the
    explosion sent a plume of fire toward his work station and knocked
    him off his feet.
    When he stood up, wires and tiles were hanging from the ceiling
    and he could hear trapped co-workers screaming for help.
    "Your life did flash before your eyes," Heath said as he stood
    in the yard of a nearby church getting hugs and kisses from
    relatives.
    The cause of the explosion was not immediately known. The
    factory employs about 225 people making syringe plungers and IV
    fitments, according to West Pharmaceutical's Web site.
    "We don't know if they had a gas buildup or it was a chemical
    explosion," Raynor said.
    At least 37 people were injured, though 11 of them were treated
    and released, according to information from hospitals compiled by
    the Red Cross.
    The blast was felt for miles. Hugh Pollock, headmaster of nearby
    Arendell Parrott Academy, said windows in his building burst from
    their frames and one child was cut on the head by broken glass. The
    private school was evacuated.
    West Pharmaceutical Services Inc., based in Lionville, Pa., near
    Philadelphia, makes pharmaceutical delivery and medical devices.
    West Pharmaceutical president Don Morel said he and a crisis
    management team were heading to the scene late Wednesday. "Our
    overriding concern lies with the well-being and safety of our
    employees, their loved ones and the surrounding community," he
    said.
    The factory is close to the Global Transpark, a onetime
    commercial airstrip now used mainly by military aircraft.
    Christopher White, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation
    Administration in Atlanta, said no aircraft were involved.
    According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,
    the plant was inspected in October, cited for numerous safety
    violations and fined about $10,000. The inspection is still
    considered open, meaning that violations could be added or deleted
    from the final record. Juan Santos, a spokesman for state
    Department of Labor, said the initial fine was reduced to $9,075 in
    an informal settlement Jan. 8.
    "We're satisfied with the company's response to the inspection
    we did this fall," state Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said.
    North Carolina is the site of one of the nation's worst
    workplace disasters: Twenty-four employees and a delivery man died
    and 56 people were injured in a 1991 fire sparked when hydraulic
    fluid from a conveyor belt sprayed over a gas-fired chicken fryer
    at Roe's Imperial Food Products plant in Hamlet.
    ---
    On the Net:
    West Pharmaceutical Services: http://www.westpharma.com
    City of Kinston: http://www.ci.kinston.nc.us/

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


  2. #2
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Additional

    KINSTON, N.C. (AP) - Flames licked through an unstable grid of
    twisted debris as investigators turned to eyewitnesses for the
    first clues to what caused an explosion that tore apart a
    pharmaceutical factory.
    At least three people were killed in the blast Wednesday at the
    West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. plant.
    Chief Deral Raynor of the North Lenoir Fire Department said
    about 130 people were at the plant when it exploded at 1:27 p.m.
    Authorities believed, but were unsure, that all were accounted for
    Wednesday night.
    Flames and debris flew high in the air and the concussion was
    felt for miles.
    Joseph Moore, an 18-year veteran molder, was working near the
    rear door. He was struck on the head by ceiling tiles and other
    debris, but uninjured.
    "I just shook that off, and grabbed somebody and got out as
    fast as I could," he said at Immanuel Baptist Church, where
    factory workers went to meet their families.
    Thick, acrid smoke that poured from the building well into the
    night was dampened overnight by light, intermittent rain, but
    flames persisted in the most damaged area.
    The cause was not immediately known. Greg Smith, operations
    chief of the Kinston Public Safety Department, said the blast
    occurred in a four-story area of the factory where chemicals are
    mixed.
    "The explosion was in the back of the plant. It blew windows
    out of the front," he said.
    Roger Dail, Lenoir County's emergency services director, said
    officials asked plant workers to return to the scene Thursday to
    talk to investigators.
    Carolyn Merritt, chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board,
    said her team would talk to the workers to "try to determine what
    processes were going on and what chemicals were being used."
    The independent federal agency's review could take from six
    months to a year. The FBI, State Bureau of Investigation,
    Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and other agencies
    also sent investigators.
    It was hard to measure the scope of the disaster, Smith said:
    "The damage is catastrophic to the building. The structure is so
    compromised that you just can't enter and walk around."
    He said rubble - mostly chunks of concrete block and metal
    shards - was knee-deep in parts of the plant.
    The factory employs about 225 people making syringe plungers and
    IV fitments, according to West Pharmaceutical's Web site.
    At least 37 people were injured, though 11 of them were treated
    and released, according to hospital data compiled by the Red Cross.
    The victims were scattered among area hospitals and at least a
    half-dozen critically injured people were taken to the North
    Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill.
    West Pharmaceutical Services Inc., based in Lionville, Pa., near
    Philadelphia, makes pharmaceutical delivery and medical devices.
    Company president Don Morel was heading to the scene late
    Wednesday.
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the plant
    was inspected in October, cited for numerous safety violations and
    fined about $10,000, which was reduced to about $9,000 early this
    month. The violations included problems with its electrical systems
    design, wiring and use; portable fire extinguishers; hazardous
    waste operations; and communications.
    Since 1993, OSHA has inspected 443 similar facilities and found
    an average of nearly six violations per site, compared with 15
    violations at West Pharmaceutical.
    ---
    On the Net:
    West Pharmaceutical Services: http://www.westpharma.com
    City of Kinston: http://www.ci.kinston.nc.us/

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Sep 1999
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
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    Default NC Plant Fire

    Onslow County fire and EMS crews were standing by Wednesday for a call to help rescuers in Lenoir County handle an explosion that rocked West Pharmaceutical Services and left an undetermined number of people dead and dozens missing or injured.



    The county had five fire engines, four paramedic ambulances and four basic life support ambulances equipped and ready to help if needed, said Don Decker, assistant Emergency Services Director. Onslow County personnel and volunteer firefighters remained on alert into Wednesday night.



    Decker said officials in Lenior County did not immediately request Onslow County to send crews, but they asked what kind of equipment and personnel the county could provide.



    “Basically, what we are doing is we are standing by for these folks,” he said. “Camp Lejeune is prepared to provide mutual aid in the county in the event one of our crews gets pulled out of county or we get stretched thin.”



    Rescuers from scores of agencies in surrounding counties were also waiting for a call to help. West Pharmaceutical Services. employed more than 200 people, many from areas in Onslow, Jones and Duplin counties. The company makes syringe plungers and IV filaments, according to the company’s Web site.



    The number of Onslow-area injured was not immediately known.



    Marines from Cherry Point Air Station were among those summoned to the fire early Wednesday afternoon.



    Pedro, Cherry Point’s CH-46 Sea Knight search and rescue helicopter, was called out to assist the recovery effort at about 2 p.m. and remained on the scene into the evening, said Capt. Bruce Frame, a Cherry Point spokesman.



    Frame said the helicopter’s four-member crew was called to assist in the transportation of victims to area hospitals.



    But at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Frame said he hadn’t heard whether Pedro had taken any injured victims from the site of the burning pharmaceutical plant.



    Officials in Kinston, which is about 60 miles from the air station, had requested no other help from Cherry Point as of Wednesday evening, Frame said.



    While emergency crews were on standby, medical personnel from Onslow Memorial Hospital’s emergency department were in contact with Lenoir Memorial Hospital to see if any assistance was needed. Lenoir County officials had sent word to burn centers in Chapel Hill and Durham that their help might be utilized.



    “Our understanding is they can handle it there,” said Ed Piper, the chief executive officer of the Onslow County Hospital Authority. “They don’t see a need to transport anyone out, except for those who need critical care.”



    The Onslow County Chapter of the American Red Cross was trying to round up volunteers Wednesday night for possible action in Lenoir County today.



    Joy Branham, a volunteer with the Onslow County Chapter of the American Red Cross, said anyone that would like to donate blood may do so at Infant of Prague Catholic Church on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Source www.jdnews.com
    Leon Bass
    SWVFD Station 16
    Visit our site at
    http://www.swvfd.org

    ------------------------
    Disclaimer:
    These are my opinions and do not reflect the views of my department.

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