By Bay City News Service
Three employees were injured in an explosion and fire that
occurred at an Amgen Inc. laboratory in South San Francisco Wednesday
afternoon, a state workplace safety agency spokesman said.
California Division of Occupational Safety and Health spokesman
Peter Melton said safety inspectors were sent to the biotechnology company
building located at 1120 Veterans Blvd. after the explosion was reported at
about 3:30 p.m.
The incident apparently started when cleaning solvents used to
sterilize equipment caused a chemical reaction that created a flash fire,
South San Francisco fire officials said.
The building was evacuated and a hazardous materials response
deployed but fire officials later determined that no chemicals were released
into the atmosphere.
Melton said three employees were in the lab when the explosion
happened and two of the three were taken to a hospital where they were
treated for their injuries and released.
The third employee only suffered a bruise to her leg, he said.
The explosion and a subsequent fire caused extensive damage to the
lab, including blowing out the windows, Melton said.
The lab has since been sealed by county authorities with no one
allowed to enter the area until it has been decontaminated, Melton said.
Further inspection and investigation will continue once the area
has been deemed safe to enter, he said.
The cause of the explosion is under investigation.
Sandra Young, a spokeswoman for Amgen Inc., said the company was
working with the fire department to "address the situation."
She said there is an investigation under way to determine the
cause of the incident. She said safety is the company's priority.
The explosion is the second incident to occur at the biotech
company in the past year.
Last May, a worker at the Amgen building was injured after
flammable liquid caused a flash fire.
Cal/OSHA cited Amgen and two other companies after the May 15
incident for improper storage of hazardous substances. Amgen Inc. was levied a $5,400 fine.
Melton said the May incident is considered a separate case from
Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse
without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.