Chemical plant explosion critically injures two

Explosion chopper footage
Crews on the scene of the explosion
Crews on the scene of the explosion

(WMC-TV) - An early morning explosion at a Chemical plant in North Memphis sent two people to the hospital with severe burns.

The explosion happened shortly after 2 a.m. Monday at PennAKem on Chelsea Avenue. PennAKem is a high-tech specialty chemical company.

We do not know what caused the fire, but we know 12 people were on site when the explosion happened. Two people were taken to The MED's burn unit in critical condition.

According to Lt. Wayne Cooke with the Memphis Fire Department, those who were injured received burns on 80 percent to 90 percent of their bodies.

Right now, the two people seriously injured have been described as men in their 40s.

Hazmat and emergency crews are keeping everyone away from the scene. Police were blocking off several streets in the area as well.

Chelsea Avenue has since been cleared and re-opened.

Those in the area were warned to stay inside as a safety precaution. Also, we were originally told there was a chemical cloud moving to the southwest. However, Lt. Cooke confirmed the cloud is just smoke.

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