T2 Laboratories explosion and fire

Coordinates: 30°26′02″N 81°34′05″W / 30.434°N 81.568°W / 30.434; -81.568
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Aerial view of T2 Laboratories, Inc., following explosion and fire

The T2 Laboratories explosion and fire occurred on December 19, 2007, in Jacksonville, Florida, resulting in the deaths of four people and the injury of fourteen others.[1][2] T2 Laboratories Inc. was a facility that specialized in the design and manufacture of specialty chemicals primarily for gasoline additives.[3][4]

View from Downtown Jacksonville

The explosion's force was equivalent to detonating 1,400 lb (640 kg)[5] of TNT and it spread debris up to 1 mi (1.6 km) from the plant.[6] Following the explosion, every HAZMAT unit in Jacksonville and over 100 firefighters fought the ensuing blaze, which a spokesman termed a "hellish inferno".[2]

The blast killed Robert Scott Gallagher, 49; Charles Budds Bolchoz, 48; Karey Renard Henry, 35; and Parrish Lamar Ashley, 36.[2] At the time of his death, Gallagher was Marketing Director for T2 Labs.[7] Fourteen people were hospitalized for chemical exposure or their injuries after the blast.[2] The company laid off its workers and shut down in the following months.[8]

In September 2009, a report was released by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board as to the cause of the accident.[5] The explosion occurred in a 2,500 US gal (9,500 L) batch reactor during production of methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MCMT). The reactor cooling system, which lacked backups, failed; this led to a thermal runaway. Pressures rapidly reached 400 psi (28 bar), bursting the rupture disc, but the relief was insufficient to prevent the continued runaway reaction. Nearby witnesses described a jet engine-like sound as high pressure gases vented from the reactor. At the same time pressure increased in the reactor, temperatures also increased in the reactor until the solvent (diglyme) reached its decomposition temperature.[9] The pressure and temperature continued to increase until the reactor violently ruptured and the MCMT exploded, destroying the reactor. Damage from the explosion was severe enough that 4 buildings in the immediate vicinity of the plant were condemned.[10]


  1. ^ "Plant Blast is Worst U.S. Industrial Accident in Nearly 3 Years". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  2. ^ a b c d "Chemical Reactor Rupture Suspected In Fatal Lab Explosion, Safety Board Says". Archived from the original on 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  3. ^ "T2 Labs - Manufacturer of gasoline additives". Archived from the original on 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  4. ^ "T2 Labs is the manufacturer of Ecotane". Archived from the original on 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  5. ^ a b "Final report" (PDF). csb.gov. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  6. ^ "Overheated chamber triggered chemical lab blast". Archived from the original on 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
  7. ^ "Contact T2 Labs Inc". Archived from the original on 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
  8. ^ "Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Occupational Safety and Health Administration". Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  9. ^ Willey, Ronald J.; Fogler, H. Scott; Cutlip, Michael B. (2011). "The integration of process safety into a chemical reaction engineering course: Kinetic modeling of the T2 incident". Process Safety Progress. 30 (1): 39–44. doi:10.1002/prs.10431. hdl:2027.42/83180. ISSN 1547-5913. S2CID 109207593.
  10. ^ Runaway: Explosion at T2 Laboratories. September 21, 2009. Event occurs at 4:31. Retrieved April 6, 2020.

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30°26′02″N 81°34′05″W / 30.434°N 81.568°W / 30.434; -81.568