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Oct 16, 2002

Board Deploys Field Investigation Team to Mississippi Accident Site

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(October 16, 2002 - Washington, DC) The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) today deployed a field investigation team to the site of a chemical explosion at the First Chemical Corp. manufacturing facility near Pascagoula, Mississippi. The team, headed by lead investigator Steve Selk and accompanied by Board Member Dr. Gerald Poje, will review the circumstances of the Sunday morning explosion that seriously damaged a large nitrotoluene distillation tower and ignited fires in a storage tank and elsewhere. Three workers received minor injuries, and nearby residents were temporarily sheltered in place. The purpose of the initial field work will be to determine if the accident warrants a full-scale investigation, which would entail a thorough analysis of the event and its causes and of the safety systems in place at the plant. First Chemical Corp., a subsidiary of ChemFirst Inc., is a producer of aniline and nitrotoluene derivatives and intermediates. For further information contact Robert Wager at (202) 261-7600.

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