Jul 28, 2014
60°
Partly Cloudy

Employees Injured, Lab Damaged in Amgen Inc. Explosion

Employees Injured, Lab Damaged in Amgen Inc. Explosion
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 Wednesday's explosion.

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.

Don’t miss updates from Patch!