3 injured in chemical explosion at Perdue Farms plant on Shore

December 14, 2005|By CHRIS GUY | CHRIS GUY,SUN REPORTER

salisbury -- Three workers suffered minor injuries in a predawn chemical explosion at the Perdue Farms Inc. poultry processing plant yesterday. The blast caused the roof of the plant's wastewater treatment building to collapse, fire officials said.

"Basically, we believe they off-loaded the wrong chemical into the wrong tank, and the mix created a violent explosion," said Steve Dickerson, a Salisbury Fire Department spokesman.

Two of the injured were Perdue employees; the other was an independent truck driver, according to fire officials. They were treated at Peninsula Regional Medical Center and released yesterday. They were not identified.

Perdue spokeswoman Julie DeYoung said the truck was delivering sodium chlorite to the poultry operation's wastewater treatment facility when the explosion occurred about 5:20 a.m. The Perdue complex is a few blocks from Salisbury's downtown business district.

Fire officials evacuated 55 workers from the poultry plant, which is less than a hundred feet from the water treatment building. DeYoung said the processing complex was closed after the blast.

chris.guy@baltsun.com

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