Workers inside a building in Norton, Massachusetts reported smelling a chlorine-like order and hearing a noise Wednesday morning.
"They were in a seperate part of the building and heard the snap crackling and pop sound and went in to investigate,” said Norton Fire Chief Paul Schleicher. “They saw the fumes coming out of the barrel and it was like firecrackers going off."
When fire crews arrived at 242 Dean Street around 10 a.m., they saw a cloud of gas in the manufacturing plant. The top of one of the metal barrels holding the chemicals melted away.
"(That) is a good thing to be honest with you because that allowed for the reaction to happen and we were able to mitigate it after that,” said David DiGregorio, director of Fire Services HAZMAT.
A quarter-mile radius around the building was evacuated. Neighbors were forced from their homes for six hours.
Fire crews were on standby around the building in case of an explosion.
The company that is housed in the building is called Tweave. They make stretch-woven fabric including some tactical gear.
Six workers were cleaning the building Wednesday morning to help the company relocate to a different town when they smelled the fumes.
"At this point we don't know the exact chemicals that are involved,” said Captain Alvan Fuller of Norton Fire. “We do know that approximately five to six 30-gallon containers that are involved in the incident."
According to Fuller, about 100 firefighters were on scene.
There were no injuries.