Chemicals Combust at TN AkzoNobel Warehouse


On Friday (Sept. 16), the Nashville Fire Department responded to a report of chemical combustion at an AkzoNobel powder coatings manufacturing site. However, officials later confirmed that the organic peroxide that caused the incident had been delivered to the warehouse mistakenly.

No injuries were reported.

What Happened

Around 1:21 p.m. on Friday, the incident happened at the building on 20 Culvert Street in Nashville after employees reported a foul odor. The Nashville Firech Department and Metro Nashville Police responded to the incident.

After fire crews arrived, they found a box of chemicals that were believed to contain organic peroxide, which had combusted and was releasing vapors. Everyone in the building was then evacuated and NFD Hazmat crews were brought onto the scene.

Kendra Loney, a spokesperson with Nashville Fire Department, said that the chemical inside the boxes must be stored at a critical temperature of minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid combustion. Consequently, the unattended materials began to combust due the rising temperatures in the warehouse.

“A preliminary investigation determined that material not used in the manufacturing process was releasing the vapor,” wrote AkzoNobel in a statement. “The manufacturing site, which makes powder coatings does not use any hazardous materials in the process. The company is investigating the origins of the material to determine how it ended up onsite to avoid any future incidents.”

As a result, the employees were unaware of what was happening due to the mistaken delivery. However, according to reports, the threat had been minimized because the materials were kept in a cardboard box that had been shrink-wrapped and left on a pallet on a bay dock.

NFD crews also reportedly stayed onsite to monitor the chemical as it off-gassed. Other companies also were expected to help clean up and make sure there was no residue or runoff.

“AkzoNobel, which also has its North American Headquarters in Nashville applauded the quick and thorough response of the Nashville fire department and other emergency responders in its effort to contain and safely dispose of the material in a safe and environmentally manner,” added AkzoNobel.

“The site does not anticipate any operational disruptions and will resume its regular schedule on Monday.”

Other Recent Factory Incidents

Back in July, a fire broke out at an allnex manufacturing facility in East St. Louis, Illinois, injuring two employees. While the cause of the explosion has not been released, an investigation is ongoing.

The company said that the two injured employees were immediately taken to the hospital for further treatment. One of the employees has been discharged, while the second employee is still in hospital care. Reports indicate the men were between age 28 and 32, and the employee in the hospital experience a chemical burn on about 60% of his body.

East St. Louis Assistant Fire Chief George McClellan told local news stations the explosion happened at about 10 p.m. inside the plant, starting a fire and causing significant damage to parts of the factory. McClellan said the flames were through the roof of the building, causing the sprinkler system to not be fully effective.

Fire crews confirmed there was a chemical spill, but did not specify what kind of chemical it was. McClellan did note that the chemical was water soluble, though.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the St. Clair Hazmat Team were inspecting for hazards. Dispatchers first reported the fire as a tanker explosion, but reports could not be confirmed, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


Tagged categories: Accidents; AkzoNobel; Coatings manufacturers; Construction chemicals; hazardous materials; Hazards; Health & Safety; Health and safety; NA; North America; Powder Coatings

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