PALM BAY, Fla. — Palm Bay police said an explosion at a chemical plant forced the shut down U.S. 1 near Robert J. Conlan Boulevard around 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Palm Bay police and firefighters said in a news conference that the explosion originated from an industrial storage area at FAR Chemical plant containing 30 to 40 50-gallon barrels of an isopropyl alcohol-based solution.
Officials said hazmat teams are on scene and have confirmed that the materials and resulting plume were non-toxic.
“You could feel how hot the explosion was just standing there,” witness Sabrina Armacost said.
Witness David Campbell and others in the area said the explosion rocked their homes and rattled windows.
They said the cause of the explosion is under investigation, but a refrigeration issue may have contributed.
One business was evacuated due to the explosion, but officials said no other evacuations were necessary.
The chemical company sent a statement saying that the fire spread to an adjacent building.
Firefighters confirmed that the fire was extinguished. Due to the industrial area, officials said extra precautions are being taken to prevent hot spots and potential flare ups.
Officials said Patrick Air Force Base responded to the scene with their crash truck to assist the effort by spraying the area with a layer of retardant foam.
FAR Chemical said it has closed the plant while the Department of Environmental Protection assesses the situation to determine when it might be safe for employees to return to work.
Watch the news conference in full below:
Brevard County Fire Rescue officials said they responded to the scene with ladder trucks and hazmat crews to what they described as a “significant fire.”
Officers posted photos of what they said were fires due to the explosion.