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Six Hurt In Chemical Explosion

March 20, 1995

FITCHBURG, Mass. (AP) _ An explosion at a chemical plant this morning injured seven people, five of them seriously.

The six apparently inhaled burning chemical fumes, said Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Roy.

Investigators believed the chemicals involved in the explosion at the Chem Design plant were the flammable solvents xylene and cyclohexane.

Company President Joe Acker said the explosion occurred in an area where chemicals used in computer and facsimile paper are dried after being processed. He said maintenance work was going on in the building at the time.

The company produces photoactive compounds for the micro-electronics and lithographic industries. It is a subsidiary of Miles Inc., a Pittsburgh-based chemical company owned by the German corporation Bayer AG.

Chem Design employs 275 people in Fitchburg, about 40 miles northwest of Boston.

The injured were taken to Burbank Hospital, and some were moved to specialized facilities elsewhere in the state.

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