Two people were injured in an explosion at Amgen's ($AMGN) South San Francisco research lab earlier this week, according to several reports. The blast was the second to occur at the facility in the past 9 months.
South San Francisco deputy fire chief Travis Nuckolls told the San Jose Mercury News that one person was seriously injured with burns to the face and another was hurt with hand burns after an explosion that involved at least one dangerous chemical that ignited in a flammable liquids cabinet.
"We can confirm an incident at our South San Francisco site [Wednesday]. We worked with the South San Francisco Fire Department to address the situation with the safety of our employees being our first priority. There were two injuries and those individuals received medical attention. An investigation has begun to determine the cause of the incident," Amgen spokeswoman Ashleigh Koss told sister publication FiercePharmaManufacturing in an email.
All neighboring buildings plus the Amgen building were evacuated as a precaution immediately following the explosion at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Officials weren't immediately sure what caused the chemical mixture to explode.
Wednesday's event follows an incident in May 2013, when a waste-disposal and cleanup worker who was collecting hazardous materials at the same Amgen facility was burned when a fire ignited.
Peter Melton, a spokesman for California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health, told the Mercury News that the agency in November issued citations to Amgen, Clean Harbors Environmental Services and the Unity Lab Services division of Thermo Fisher Scientific ($TMO) for that accident.
Fires and explosions at manufacturing facilities--like the 2012 explosion at a Teva ($TEVA) plant in Croatia that killed four workers and injured another 17--are not unusual, but these types of occurrences are rare at research facilities.
- read the coverage from FiercePharmaManufacturing
- check out the San Jose Mercury News story