PENSACOLA, FL — An investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of an incident that occurred Sunday which killed one worker at the Airgas facility next to the Ascend Performance Materials plant in Cantonment, FL, outside Pensacola. Airgas makes nitrous oxide using materials supplied by the nearby Ascend plant.
According to initial inquiries, the explosion involved nitrous oxide tanks in the loading bay, where the incident is said to have taken place.
Escambia County public safety director Mike Weaver said the nitrous oxide did not pose a threat to the public and that no additional injuries have been reported.
According to investigators, the area looks like “a mini war zone” and that “nitrous oxide was leaking in a 500-by-500 foot area, but evaporated before it left the plant.’
Ascend Performance Materials manufactures and supplies chemicals, fibers and plastics products for use in various commercial and industrial products.
Airgas is a distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases, as well as a product line of safety products, welding equipment and specialty tools.