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Thread: Explosion, Fire Rock North Carolina Pharmaceutical Plant

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    Administrator Neil's Avatar
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    Explosion, Fire Rock North Carolina Pharmaceutical Plant

    Explosion, Fire Rock North Carolina Pharmaceutical Plant
    At Least Five Critical, More May Be Trapped


    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Updated: 01-29-2003 03:55:48 PM

    KINSTON, N.C. (AP) -- An explosion and fire rocked a pharmaceutical company's factory Wednesday afternoon, leaving the building a shattered ruin as flames and black smoke poured out. At least 11 people were injured, five critically.

    No fatalities were immediately confirmed, but city manager Ralph Clark said some workers were believed to be still in the West Pharmaceuticals plant almost two hours after the explosion at 1:27 p.m.

    ``We're trying to get them out,'' he said. He had few details.

    The cause was not immediately known. A man who lives near the plant said debris flew in the air and the woods behind the plant were also on fire.

    Eleven patients were taken to Lenoir Memorial Hospital in Kinston; five were in critical condition. More were expected, a spokeswoman said.

    Duke Medical Center in Durham, the University of North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill and Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville were told to expect patients.

    Lee Edwards, who lives about a tenth of a mile from the plant, said debris from two 800-feet water towers flew in the air.

    ``All I can see is just the black smoke, just billowing up in the air. I mean, the whole sky is black,'' he said. ``It exploded. It knocked me over.''

    ``That whole building is gone. There's no saving any part of that building,'' he said.

    Television aerial footage of showed flames and smoke still shooting up more than 1 1/2 hours after the fire broke out.

    Jack Lambert, who works at Seagrave Aviation nearby, told CNN he ran toward the plant to help people get out and saw about a dozen people with burns on their arms and backs.

    ``It smells like a bunch of rubber,'' Lambert said. ``It blew the roof off a good 400 feet down the road. It caught all the woods on fire.''

    West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. is a manufacturer of pharmaceutical delivery and medical devices. The company's Web site said its Kinston plant employs about 225 people producing syringe plungers and IV supplies.

    A spokeswoman at the company's headquarters in Lionville, Pa., had no immediate comment.

    Students were evacuated from the Arendell Parrott Academy, less than half a mile from the plant, because of the danger.

    Academy Headmaster Ike Southerland described the explosion like ``a clap of thunder magnified probably 10 times.''

    ``It shook every one of our buildings and damaged probably 10 classrooms,'' Southerland told CNN.

    Kinston is a city of about 25,000 in east-central North Carolina, about 70 miles east of Raleigh.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...3&sectionId=46


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    Administrator Neil's Avatar
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    Burns claim 4th victim of N.C. factory explosion

    Burns claim 4th victim of N.C. factory explosion
    Associated Press
    Feb. 1, 2003 12:00 AM

    KINSTON, N.C. - A 22-year-old plant worker hospitalized with severe burns since an explosion at a medical-supply factory died Friday, bringing the death toll to four.


    Federal investigators were still trying to determine the cause of Wednesday's explosion but have said it could have started with dust generated in the rubbermaking process.

    Three people were found dead in the rubble of the West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. plant after the blast.

    The fourth victim, Kevin Cruiess, 22, of Kinston, died at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill

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