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United States Chemical Safety
and Hazard Investigation Board

  Incident Title
  Chemical Fire Touches Off Explosions and Evacuations; One Injured and Residents Forced Indoors     
  Location Date of Incident
  Tullytown, PA, United States 12/7/2001- 6:15 PM
  CSB Incident Number NRC Report Number Board Ref. Number
  2001-5326 588091 None Reported
  Current Status Date of Report Update
  No CSB Action 12/11/2001 - 1:16 PM
  Incident Types Location Types
  - Explosion
- Fire
Fixed Facility
  Evacuations Injuries Fatalities
  1000 (Estimate) 1 (Estimate) None
  Chemicals Involved
  None Reported
  Description or Latest Development
Information Added: Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 1:15 PM
Firefighters from numerous squads and hazardous material handlers responded to a Friday evening (12-11-2001) blaze in a Tullytown chemical plant that triggered multiple explosions and the building's collapse.

Enormous pillars of flame lit the night sky above Gelest Inc. at 612 William Leigh Drive in the Lucisano Industrial Park. Gelest occupied about 75 percent of the industrial park's D building. Four Seasons Patio and Doors occupied the remaining portion, company president Al Lopez said.

One plant employee, Brian Pollilo, 24, of Horsham suffered multiple burns and the borough activated its emergency notification system ordering residents indoors. The fire also forced the evacuation of nearby businesses.

The borough wasn't the only community affected. About a mile down the road in Falls, more than 1,000 visitors to Pennsbury Manor's annual Holly Night were evacuated by fire officials. One visitor, who asked not to be named, said that by the time she and her family left, their eyes and noses were burning.

The President of Gelest Inc., said a static electrical discharge in the plant's laboratory might have touched off the blaze. He said he couldn't elaborate because the fire is under investigation.

According to the company Web site, Gelest, a 11-year-old firm, manufactures several chemical compounds that contain silicone, germanium, tin, and lead. The business specializes in silicone-based materials used in the electronics field.

  Sources ( * indicates the original source) Source Details
  • Media
  • Bucks County Courier Times 12-8-2001 
  • National Response Center *

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