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Peterborough

2 seriously injured in NHBB blast released from hospital

Two New Hampshire Ball Bearings workers who were seriously injured in a Feb. 10 explosion at the Peterborough plant have been released from Massachusetts hospitals and are recovering at their homes.

N.H. Ball Bearings spokesperson Hans Baker declined to provide the names of the two workers or information on the extent of their injuries, but he said everyone at the company is pleased that they are getting better.

Baker was unable to say when the workers might return to their jobs.

The two were injured, along with 13 other workers who were treated locally, when an explosion ripped through the first floor of the manufacturing plant, blowing out a row of windows on the side of the building facing Route 202. The two injured workers were airlifted after the explosion — one to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the other to UMass Medical Center in Worcester, Mass.

A few days after the explosion, an initial investigation conducted by the State Fire Marshal’s Office determined the blast was caused by a nitric acid reaction. Nitric acid is an oxidizing agent commonly used in industrial processes, including at N.H. Ball Bearings, where workers use it in the ball plant for surface treatment of ball bearings.

The incident remains under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office, which has not yet released additional information.

On Monday, Baker said the plant is now back in full production.

“There are still pockets of the plant that are under repair, but even in those areas we’re seeing production,” he said. “We’ve made rapid progress and we had a very strong month of March, as far as shipping products.”

Baker said the explosion prompted the company to review and assess safety and production procedures at all its plants in the United States.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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