Around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon firefighters responded to an East Providence factory for a report of an explosion and subsequent fire. The pellet company and neighboring businesses were immediately evacuated.
Thick black smoke poured out of Inferno Pellets located at 275 Ferris Ave. Crews battled the fire for more than 3 hours. They doused the flames with water from near by train tracks, as there were concerns for firefighter safety after a partial roof collapse. At its peak this was a 4-alarm fire.
The small dust explosion occurred inside a mixing tank. Battalion Chief Jobin says it was likely sparked by day-to-day operations. The company makes wood products, chopping pieces into pellets.
Chief Oscar Elmaison says a 54-year-old worker was injured in the explosion. He was thrown nearly 20 feet and suffered first and second degree burns on his body. There is no word on his condition tonight.
As of 6 PM the fire was mostly contained. Crews remained on scene to put out hot spots. Firefighters say there are still concerns that there could be secondary explosions.
Neighbors say firefighters frequent the address. Battalion Chief Jobin confirmed to ABC6 News that they are called to the company on a regular basis and that small fires are not uncommon due to the nature of the business.
A security guard at a nearby business heard the explosion and called 9-1-1.
The pellet company is surrounded by residential neighborhoods. No residents had to be evacuated.