Explosion at Intel plant injures 7 in Chandler

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by Alicia E. Barrón

Video report by Tyler Baldwin

Posted on June 7, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 8 at 8:43 AM

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CHANDLER, Ariz. - Seven employees were injured after a substance exploded in a chemical-storage room at Intel's plant in Chandler.

More than 70 firefighters from agencies across the Valley responded to the Intel plant in Chandler near Octotillo and Dobson roads at about 2 p.m. Tuesday.

A spokesman for Intel said they were testing a machine that breaks down and burns off waste when the explosion took place. There were seven people in the room at the time.

Two people were treated on scene, four were taken to the hospital and one person suffered what were described as severe burns and was taken to the Maricopa County Burn Center.

"It was a small explosion," said Intel spokesman John Pemberton. "It was in a room designed to handle this kind of chemistry. The engineering systems worked as they were supposed to. The people all had their protective equipment on.

"Obviously, we didn't expect this to happen," Pemberton said. "Folks did a great job of getting everyone out safely. That's what we were most worried about."

Fire officials said the fire was contained in the OC10 room at the company's Ocotillo campus. It is a support building where they keep supplies, cleaning agents and other materials.

More than 100 people were evacuated from the building. Officials will now investigate whether the explosion was human-caused or due to a machine malfunction.

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