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Four hospitalized with minor head injuries in Moonachie chemical explosion

Photo Credit: Rob Munoz
Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Correspondent Damien Danis
Photo Credit: Rob Munoz
Photo Credit: Rob Munoz

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Four people were taken to Hackensack University Medical Center with concussion-like injuries after an accidental chemical explosion at a Moonachie foam manufacturing plant sent shock waves as far as West Milford late this afternoon. OSHA was investigating.

Emergency responders from 14 towns rushed to the Crest Foam Industries warehouse on Carol Place off Moonachie Road following the blast in a machine that makes foam buns just after 4:30 p.m., Assistant Moonachie Fire Chief Justin Derevyanik told CLIFFVIEW PILOT tonight.

The initial immediate report was that two workers were trapped when the center of the building collapsed — which Derevyanik said proved false.

Seventeen people were at the warehouse at the time and none were trapped, he said.

Given the initial report, however, no fewer than 10 ambulances were requested. Also responding were Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) units, which have equipment for collapsed-trench, high-angle and confined-space rescues.

Firefighters had the four-alarm blaze extinguished in 35 minutes.

The block was evacuated and a reverse 911 went out to residents to stay indoors, keep their windows closed and turn off their air conditioners — “just as a precaution,” Police Chief Michael McGuire told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . The request was lifted by 7 p.m., he said.

The Bergen County Hazardous Materials Unit and Office of Emergency Management joined emergency responders from Carlstadt, Garfield, Hackensack, Hasbrouck Heights, Little Ferry, Rochelle Park and Wood-Ridge, among other towns.

No toxins were released into the air, Derevyanik said. The 14 people who didn’t go to the hospital were decontaminated, along with emergency responders who went in, he said.

“We’re awaiting an engineer to be sure that the building is structurally sound,” the assistant chief added.

Crest Foam bills itself as “a pioneer developer of reticulated polyurethane foam materials. Our company manufactures a full line of reticulated polyester, polyether and graft types of foams with a wide range of pore sizes. We also offer conventional and specialty non-reticulated foam materials, as well as compressed, ‘felted’ foam. Manufacturer of specialty foam rubber products.”

Reticulation — which led to the explosion — is “a proprietary process that uses heat and pressure to remove the membranes for a completely open-pore foam with a skeletal structure through which fluids and gasses easily pass,” the company said.

“Crest reticulated foam materials are unique and extraordinarily versatile; they can be fabricated (or combined with other materials) into virtually any configuration for use in thousands of different products and applications,” it added.

These include sponges, air filters, ink jet printers, sound insulation, fuel tanks on aircraft and racing cars, fish tank filters, microphone covers, swabs and scrubbers, the company says.

PHOTOS (above & top): CLIFFVIEW PILOT Correspondent Damien Danis

PHOTO: Rob Munoz

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