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Published: Wednesday, 12/19/2007

Explosion, fire at Fla. chemical plant kills 4, injures at least 14

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Flames and smoke rise from the site of T2 Laboratories in Florida. Flames and smoke rise from the site of T2 Laboratories in Florida.
BOB SELF / AP Enlarge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. An explosion and fire at a chemical plant killed four people today and injured at least 14, fire officials said.

Six people were initially missing at the T2 Laboratories Inc. plant, said Tom Francis, a fire rescue spokesman. Fourteen were taken to hospitals, but he did not say what their condition was.

The chemicals at the plant made the environment incredibly dangerous for the first responders, Francis said. Explosions were generating all kinds of side brush fires and other kinds of blazes.

Hospitals reported one patient in critical condition, three fair and five good.

Conditions for the rest were unknown, or it wasn t clear where they were being treated.

A plume of smoke rises in the distance north of downtown Jacksonville, Fla., after an explosion and fire at  T2 Laboratories. A plume of smoke rises in the distance north of downtown Jacksonville, Fla., after an explosion and fire at T2 Laboratories.
JON M. FLETCHER / AP Enlarge

T2 Laboratories makes chemical solvents and fuel additives. An emergency number listed on the company s Web site was answered by a woman who said she was an owner s friend. She said the only details she had were from media reports and then hung up.

Witnesses told The Florida Times-Union that debris from the afternoon explosion flew several stories into the air.

Derek Pratt, 24, was flying a remote control airplane field at a field about a mile away when he heard a series of thudding explosions.

Those shock waves came straight through these hills, he told the newspaper. It was like a great ball of fire in the air.

The fire was across the street from a JEA power plant, a spokeswoman with the utility said.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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