Ongoing Investigation at Conn. Business Involves Chemicals: Source

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Multiple local and federal agencies are conducting an ongoing investigation at a company in Old Saybrook.

Investigators have been at LabDirect at 6 Center Road since Wednesday afternoon, according to Police Chief Michael Spera. He said they are conducting a criminal investigation at the property.

Spera said there is no threat to the public.

The investigation centers around chemicals at the property, according to a source close to the investigation.

Other businesses in the area are closed during the investigation, the source said.

State police say their bomb squad is at the scene assisting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms at the scene.

An ATF spokesperson told NBC Connecticut their agents at the scene investigate firearms dealers and entities that sell chemicals that could potentially be used in explosives.

An NBC Connecticut crew at the scene heard what appeared to be two controlled explosions on the property just before 9 a.m.

Center Road was closed for more than a day but reopened just before 4 p.m. Thursday.

LabDirect is a biochemical supplier that provides hard-to-find chemicals and reagents for independent researchers and chemists, according to the company's website.

When reached for comment, LabDirect's owner, Richard Carboni, said he couldn't provide any details on the investigation but did address the ongoing situation.

"…we have always and are currently cooperating fully with all relevant authorities to try to resolve any issues, and that there is no hazard to public safety," Carboni said.

A chemist we spoke to said many of the chemicals the company deals with are fairly common.

“If I were a resident of Old Saybrook, I'd much rather have to deal with the inconvenience thing, a couple roads closed, a lot of police around, rather than have an explosion in my backyard,” said Quinnipiac University Assistant Professor of Chemistry Robert Hansen.

We asked Hansen to check out the company's website.

“Nothing really out of the ordinary. These are a lot of chemicals I've dealt with in my labs, both in research and teaching,” he said.

Hansen says while none of the chemicals the company’s website says it can provide alarms him, he says safety is a priority when handling these chemicals for the company, the transport of the items, and recipients.

“There are a lot of regulations around these chemicals and the fact that they are police around, it should not be alarming. In fact, it should really be reassuring.”

He says lots of safety procedures have to be in place while handling these chemicals, just like they have in place at the lab where he teaches.

“They probably had some complaint or something and they investigated right away, called in the ATF, called in the chemical safety experts. So that gives me a lot of confidence that they are handling the situation well, and obviously, they're not going to give a lot of details. They don't want to alarm the public. And so many people are not familiar enough with these chemicals to be reassured, but these are common chemicals. Safety experts are there. They know the hazards. They know how to handle them. That gives me confidence,” said Hansen.

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