AKRON - The all clear was given just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday following a chemical plant explosion in Akron.
Those people who had to leave their homes or businesses were told they could return, the City of Akron said.
Firefighters struggled to battle the blaze at Emerald Performance Materials following the explosion, which happened at about 1 p.m. at the plant, located at 240 West Emerling Ave.
Mitch Beard, who works at a plant behind Emerald says they realized quickly they needed to get out of the area fast,“It just sounded like gas was escaping and flames rose higher and higher, and higher, and the hotter the fire got the more gas that escaped.”
Many people called for a ride from friends and family, while about 100 were evacuated on busses to the Student Union at the University of Akron.
One of them, Brian Piggott works for a company right next to Emerald Performance Materials.
“I don’t scare easy, but that was a scary situation,” said Piggott, “It really was makes you think a lot about your family and stuff like that.”
Late Wednesday evening, the company released an update on the explosion:
Emerald’s Akron plant wishes to thank all of Akron's first responders who brought to a safe conclusion the explosion and fire at our facility earlier today. We have worked closely with the Akron Fire Department over the years on training and various safety protocols and have a strong partnership. Thanks, in part, to the Department's knowledge of our plant and evacuation plans, we were able to work together to quickly and safely evacuate the plant.
We also want to thank all those affected by the evacuation for their cooperation during this challenging situation. Akron Fire’s Hazmat team conducted air sampling and confirmed that no hazardous atmosphere was detected. Three employees, nonetheless, were evaluated at the hospital and were released without injury.
All regularly scheduled employees have been asked to report to work tomorrow. The unaffected areas of the plant will be inspected and are expected to return to operations soon. The portion of the plant where the incident happened will remain shut down until we complete a comprehensive assessment of the incident in conjunction with various government agencies to determine the cause.
Emerald’s Akron plant apologizes to all who may have been inconvenienced as a result of the incident, the evacuation and the road closures. We take seriously our responsibility to our community and strive to be good neighbors.
Akron police and firefighters told Fox 8 crews would be at the location overnight, along with the factory’s private security watching for flare ups or other problems.