The Akron Fire Department has confirmed an explosion occurred Wednesday afternoon at Emerald Performance Materials, a chemical manufacturing plant.
Police said exposure to the chemical involved in the explosion, butadiene, can cause irritation to the eyes, throat, nose and lungs. Butadiene is used to make rubber. Officers said there is no indication of a mass release or plume of butadiene that could impact the general public. The Akron Fire Department hazmat team has entered the building to assess the situation further, police said.
Nearby buildings and businesses were evacuated as a precaution.
Fire department confirms an explosion at Emerald Performance on Emerling in Akron. Not clear if chemicals are involved or if there are any injuries. @WEWS
— Bob Jones WEWS (@bobjonesTV) July 18, 2018
Akron police have shut down South Main Street from East Archwood Avenue to East Wilbeth Road.
Fire and smoke were visible from the Akron Beacon-Journal offices near High and Exchange streets.
"I was working side the factory. It sounded like somebody ran into the back of the building with a tow motor, and then I walked outside and there was just a bunch of smoke with all the flames and the fire department was evacuating everybody," said Owen West who works nearby.
No significant injuries have been reported. Police said two individuals were taken to Akron General due to complaints of coughing symptoms. Emerald Performance Materials said all of its employees have been accounted for and no injuries to its personnel have been reported.