After 3-Alarm Fire at Dow Chemical Plant in Northeast Charlotte, questions are being asked about the safety of the workers and those living near the location.
The Dow Chemical Co. plant located on the 6100 block of Orr Road in east Charlotte was the site of a three-alarm fire on Wednesday morning (Sept. 27th). A spokesperson from Dow Chemical Co., told local news outlets that the fire was the result of a chemical reaction in a drum that contained a chemical.” Following an investigation by the Charlotte Fire Department Investigation Task Force, the chemical source of the fire was identified as divinylbenzene (DVB).
Divinylbenzene (DVB) is a highly reactive chemical compound, with a high risk of fire and explosion if improperly handled. The explosive potential of the chemical showed its self after a holding drum became over-pressurized, resulting in Wednesday’s morning blaze. Fire investigators were able to determine that a thermal reaction that occurred in a storage drum housed outside the plant, occurred leading to the fire. The fire was contained to the outside of the facility.
In addition to being classified as a fire and explosion hazard, divinylbenzene (DVB) has been linked to a number of health issues. A short period of exposure to divinylbenzene (DVB) can cause respiratory issues if inhaled and irritation to the skin and eyes. Those that have experienced long periods of exposure to divinylbenzene (DVB) are at a high risk of developing health issues related to exposures to benzene and benzene containing products, including serious health issues, including cancers.
This realization has neighbors close to the Dow Chemical Co. location on Orr Rd worried about their safety, and following an investigation by local news channel wsoctv.com, in Charlotte revealed that Dow Chemical has a history of lax safety practices.
According to the WSOCTV report, the Dow Chemical Co. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor 28 times in February 2017 for the control of hazardous energy, overhead and gantry cranes, and safety management of highly hazardous chemicals.
This realization has local residents are even more concerned about the safety practices at this Dow Chemical Co. location.