Local News

U.S. Chemical Safety Board to Release Final Report on Apex Fire

Posted April 15, 2008 5:53 a.m. EDT

— The U.S. Chemical Safety Board plans to release its final report about the Apex Plant explosion on Wednesday.

The board will also show a video recreation of the October 2006 accident, which caused 17,000 Apex residents – more than half the town – to evacuate their homes, in fear the fire at the hazardous-waste facility could release a toxic cloud.

No one was seriously hurt in the accident.

Since then, the state has tightened laws regulating hazardous-waste facilities, and Environmental Quality Industrial Services has paid out more than $200,000 in reimbursements to the town of Apex and its residents.

The leak at the EQ plant on Investment Boulevard sent several large plumes of chlorine gas into the air. A large fire broke out, sending flames more than 100 feet into the sky and setting off multiple explosions. The fire raged for more than a day.

EQ agreed in October 2007 to not to rebuild its Apex site to settle a dispute with state regulators. The company agreed to pay more than $400,000 in penalties, fees and reimbursements to the state.

The state Division of Waste Management levied a record $553,225 fine against the company in March 2007, citing previous violations of the company's hazardous waste permit at the Apex site, including unreported fires and chemical leaks.