Next incident at Wacker’s U.S. polysilicon plant: fire extinguished

Fire at Wacker’s U.S. polysilicon plant in Charleston, Tennessee
A fire in the waste water treatment building of Wacker’s U.S. polysilicon plant was extinguished within 9 hours – Image: News Channel 9

20 months after a severe hydrogen explosion, Wacker’s U.S. polysilicon plant near Charleston, Tennessee has experienced another incident: On Saturday, May 4, at 1:20 am a fire was reported on the 4th Floor of the factory’s waste water treatment building.

The same day at 9:38 am, the Bradley County Sheriff twittered: “Smoke and water vapor is present in the area. Air quality tests being done regularly have shown zero parts per million and no chemical residue in the air.” Half an hour later, he announced: “The fire has been extinguished.”

The fire adds to a list of incidents that happened at the factory since it started up in early 2016:

  • Oct. 3, 2016: A faulty gasket at one of the distillation columns is discovered; no chemical spill occurrs.
  • Aug. 30, 2017: A release of chlorosilanes causes burns to five workers.
  • Sep. 7, 2017: Chlorosilanes escape from two leaks after a faulty piston has caused the explosion of a hydrogen compressor; 13 people are treated at hospitals.

The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration has already charged Wacker with $45,400 in fines for nine violations of rules.

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