North Andover Explosion Remains Under Investigation

An investigation into the cause of a chemical explosion Thursday at a North Andover plant awaits completion of a decontamination process by a hazardous materials team.

North Andover and other area firefighters and hazmat units responded Thursday afternoon to an explosion reported at Dow Chemical, 60 Willow St., North Andover, near route 114. Four people inside were injured, three of them critically, according to North Andover Fire Chief Andrew V. Melnikas. He told WHAV a returning hazmat team is expected to complete decontamination Friday before investigators, including the state fire marshal’s office, can begin to determine a cause.

“My understanding is there are still some cylinders that are in question or potentially compromised. And the room’s not exactly ‘clear’ enough for the investigation group, both the state fire marshal and the North Andover fire department investigation teams, to get in,” Melnikas said.

Meanwhile, Melnikas said there is no hazard to the public in the vicinity of the chemical explosion.

“They’ve isolated the problem and there’s no concern, especially to the public, because we did get numerous calls about concerns about any kind of a release or things of that nature. But there are no concerns along those lines,” Melnikas said.

Melnikas noted the response effort Thursday, with several mutual aid units and State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan on scene, “everything worked smoothly.”

The victims were transported to Lawrence General Hospital. The three critically injured were airlifted to Boston. Their identities were not released.

The Haverhill Fire Department covered North Andover fire stations and responded to “day-to-day” calls, said Haverhill Fire Chief John. E. Parow.