Moonachie factory explosion that injured four 'under control,' officials say
The plant sits on a dead end in Moonachie, probably unnoticed by most people in the neighborhood.
They all know about it now. The blast could be heard as far as neighboring Little Ferry.
“It almost knocked us off our feet,” said Moonachie First Assistant Fire Chief Justin Deravyanik, who lives three blocks from the plant.
And because hazardous materials are used to create the foam products in the building, the Moonachie Police Department issued a reverse 911 call to residents, warning them to shut their windows after the blast.
The Bergen County Hazardous Materials team determined no hazardous materials were released into the air or building in the explosion, and residents were able to open their windows by 7 p.m.
“The right now the situation is under control,” Deravyanik said.
The machine that exploded combines hydrogen and oxygen to make a foam used by industries as a filter, Mike Bessette, president of the plant, said. The cause of the explosion is under investigation.
The 17 employees inside the plant at the time of the 4:30 p.m. explosion all evacuated on their own, Deravyanik said. Four were treated at Hackensack University Medical Center for minor injuries after suffering blows to the head.
The rest underwent decontamination by the Garfield hazardous materials team and sent home.
The decontamination and reverse 911 call were made out of an abundance of caution due to the hazardous materials in the building, Deravyanik said.
“Until we got an all clear from our guys, we wanted the residents to know what was going on, because the whole neighborhood heard the explosion,” he said.
The building will remain empty until a structural engineer determines it’s safe to enter, Deravyanik said. The explosion damaged a central warehouse, electrical components and the sprinkler system, he said.
The plant is the only one of its kind the Inoac company operates, Bessette said.
“It was a loud boom,” said Bessette, who was in his office. “There was some damage when the ceiling fixtures fell down and everyone quickly evacuated.”