Peterborough, NH, United States (4E) – An explosion occurred at a ball bearing manufacturing plant in Peterborough, NH Monday afternoon injuring 15 workers.
The explosion did not cause fire but an estimated 400 to 450 employees working at the New Hampshire Ball Bearing (NHBB) in the 175 Jaffrey Road were evacuated and 100 firefighters came to the site before 4 p.m. Parts of the plant’s building and equipment were also damaged and morning-shift work on Tuesday was cancelled.
Thirteen of the injured were taken by ambulance to the Monadnock Community Hospital. Two of them were later transferred to another hospital, said Gov. Maggie Hassan’s spokesman Marc P. Goldberg. NHBB officials said the injuries were not life-threatening.
The explosion happened at 3:30 p.m. at the first floor of the plant, according to workers and Peterborough police. The explosion blew out windows, toppled machines, caused the second floor ceiling to collapse, broke doors and sent debris flying all over, witnesses said.
Hans Baker, a NHBB communications official, confirmed the explosion in the first floor but said the cause is unknown. Local fire officials and the state Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating what caused the explosion.
The plant manufactures precision bearings used in the aerospace industry, in the defense industry and for dental applications, among others.