Chemical Plant Explosion in Newburyport Leaves One Worker Still Missing

An explosion at Seqens North America, an active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing company located at 9 Opportunity Way, occurred just before 1 a.m. on Thursday, leaving one worker unaccounted for. Firefighters and technical rescue crews were unable to enter the building due to major structural damage caused by the explosion.

According to the fire chief, the blast was so violent that an industrial-sized vat was moved about 30 feet from inside the building to an adjacent parking lot. Of the five workers inside the building during the incident, four were treated and released from a local hospital. Officials say there is no danger to area residents, but police are asking people who would be coming to work in the industrial park to avoid the area.

In a statement made by a company representative this morning, “The authorities arrived quickly on site, and we are grateful for their support and quick work.” They went on to say, “Four employees were sent to the hospital for checking and were released from the hospital with no injury. One person remains unaccounted for. All our attention is focused on the situation of our employees.”

A Coast Guard helicopter was called to the scene to perform an aerial search, while officials are working to make a safe entry into the building to search for the missing worker. The cause of the explosion is currently unknown.

This is not the first incident to occur at the Seqens North America plant. In 2020, a series of explosions rocked the same company, but no injuries were reported. The company has also faced several OSHA violations in the past, including fines of $50,000 and $28,000 in 2019 and 2020, respectively, for safety violations.

State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said Thursday’s incident falls into a more serious category than previous incidents at the plant. Seqens North America has promised to fully cooperate with the investigation into the incident.

Live Boston will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.