Seven people have been injured following an explosion and fire at a factory which manufactures newspaper ink.
Employees at the U.S. Ink plant in East Rutherford, New Jersey, were mixing volatile chemicals when a carbon compound ignited at around 1.15pm.
A fire subsequently broke out in the factory’s ventilation system which workers tried unsuccessfully to extinguish.
The seven workers injured all suffered first or second-degree burns. They were treated at the scene before being taken to Hackensack University Medical Center.
Three who had suffered burns to the face and hands, were later transferred to the burns unit at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. One worker suffered an injury to his air passages.
Many of the employees had their faces and bodies covered in a black soot-like substance, believed to be the carbon compound used in the manufacturing process.
Firemen quickly extinguished the blaze, which they claimed had at no time posed a danger to the general public.
Local people reported there had been a power blackout earlier in the day.
A spokesman for parent company, Sun Chemical, said the explosion happened in the pre-mix room of the plant but that there was no danger of contamination to the neighbourhood.
Fire Chief John Giancaspro said more than 20 workers were standing outside the plant when firefighters arrived.
He said: ‘There doesn’t seem to be any human error involved.’
He said: ‘We must determine the actual root cause of this incident so that we can take any possible steps to prevent it from happening again.
‘At this time we cannot rule out any possible causal factor.’
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration database, the company has been reported for safety violations at the plant in 1976, 1986 and 1989.