WASHINGTON - The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is continuing its investigation to determine the root causes of the powerful explosion that destroyed the CAI/Arnel ink manufacturing facility in Danvers, Mass., on November 22, 2006. Scores of nearby homes and businesses were damaged, some beyond repair. A number of residents were hospitalized. There were no injuries in the plant, which was unoccupied at the time.

A team from the CSB documented at least 100 different examples of blast damage – such as shattered windows or broken beams – throughout the Danvers community. These “blast markers” will be interpreted using computer models in an effort to better understand the nature and the explosive force of the blast.

CSB lead investigator John Vorderbrueggen, PE, said, “The probable source of fuel for the explosion is vapor from flammable solvents that were used to produce printing inks and paints.” He added that natural gas also remains under examination as a possible fuel source, in addition to or in lieu of solvent fumes.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. For more information, visit www.csb.gov.