MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A loud boom put neighbors on edge in the middle of the night in a north Memphis neighborhood after an explosion at a chemical plant critically injured two workers.
The fire broke out around 1 a.m. on Monday, September 24 near Chelsea Avenue and North Holmes Street at the Penn A Kem chemical plant. The plant produces chemicals for pharmaceutical purposes. 12 employees were on site when suddenly, there was a blast.
According to Memphis Fire Lt. Wayne Cooke, "There was a transfer of the product from one container to another. During the process of that transfer, that's when the explosion happened."
The two injured plant workers were brought to The MED in critical condition with burns on 80 to 100 percent of their bodies. While firefighters said there was no need for evacuations, residents told ABC24 News they were left in the dark.
"We would like to know that when something like this happens, that we are alerted to what is going on. There was no sirens going off to let us know to stay inside," noted resident Sherita Miller. "When they were responding, I understand they were trying to get to them and that is what they need to do but we live here and we need to know what is going on. We want to know if we're in danger and what we need to do to stay safe. That's all we need to know."
TN State Representative Antonio Parkinson said he was also concerned.
"My first concern is the victims and the victims' family, that they are taken care of in the best manner possible, make sure that the employees here that were witness to this incident have resources available, whether its in counseling or whatever resources that they need to allow them to move forward," he said.
The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.