PALMETTO -- A pesticide explosion rocked TriEst Ag Group Inc., 7610 U.S. 41 N., late Tuesday afternoon.
Firefighters with the North River Fire District received a call at 4:45 p.m. about an explosion at the Palmetto business. The explosion could be heard a mile away.
"Currently, this particular plant makes pesticides for the farm industry," said North River Fire District Fire Chief Michael S. Rampino, who was on scene Tuesday. "They were mixing a few different types of chemicals. Obviously, there was a reaction to those chemicals."
Manatee County EMS, the Hazardous Materials response team from Southern Manatee Fire Rescue and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office also arrived on scene. A few sheriff's office vehicles parked in front of the entrance of the private road that leads to the business in order to block the public. The smell of chemicals permeated the area.
According to Rampino, there were no injuries. He said the explosion, however, was extensive and there was a lot of debris that landed about 200-300 yards away on the road and a nearby field.
"At this point in time, what we're doing to do is have our Hazardous Materials Team go in, look everything over, see exactly what they were dealing with," Rampino said. "Then, they can break down each one of those chemicals and what they can or cannot do. But currently, as it stands for this particular area in the neighborhood, nobody's in any immediate danger."
U.S. 41 was closed for a short time but has since been reopened, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
Based in Greenville, N.C., TriEst produces fumigation products for the agriculture industry. One of its products is a line of polyethylene film applied to row crops including tomatoes and berries. The film is used as a fumigation barrier, according to the company's website.
The sheriff's office said deputies responded to assist the North River Fire District.
"I would imagine we'll be here for another three or four hours," Rampino said. "It's just a slow process -- a methodical, slow process."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.