A production facility operated by Sigma-Aldrich was rocked by a serious explosion on Monday. There were no casualties, but the facility itself has been 'largely destroyed', according to the firm.
The cause of the explosion has been linked to a leak in a nitric oxide tank, which was under investigation by company officials and firefighters at the time of the blast. One employee sustained minor injuries and as a precaution, around 2,000 residents living within a mile of the plant were evacuated.
Sigma manufactures biochemical and organic chemical products and kits that are used in scientific and genomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, diagnostics and chemical manufacturing.
The Miamisburg plant, based in Ohio, USA, produces stable isotopes and isotopically-labelled compounds used in life science research, medical diagnostics and PET imaging, but Sigma stressed that products made at the facility contribute less than 2 per cent to the firm's consolidated revenues.
Other facilities on the site were damaged, but are expected to resume production after a thorough safety review and minor repairs are completed.
Commenting on the incident, Michael Hogan, Sigma-Aldrich's chief administrative officer, said :"At times like these, it's important to focus on what matters most. We're thankful that only one person - a company employee on site to investigate a leak - was injured. And we're even more thankful that that injury was not a major one."