© 2024
Local NPR for the Cape, Coast & Islands 90.1 91.1 94.3
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Investigation continues after Bridgeport chemical explosion

The view looking south down Willow Street where Bridgeport firefighters and emergency responders remained on the scene following an explosion at an environmental services company on Cross Street, in Bridgeport, Connecticut December 29, 2023.
Ned Gerard
/
Hearst Connecticut Media
The view looking south down Willow Street where Bridgeport firefighters and emergency responders remained on the scene following an explosion at an environmental services company on Cross Street, in Bridgeport, Connecticut December 29, 2023.

Authorities say it could take weeks or months to get to the bottom of what caused a chemical explosion on Bridgeport’s East End on Friday.

The blast at the Tradebe Environmental Services waste management facility led to the temporary evacuation of a nearby residential neighborhood. Three people at the Tradebe site at the time of the explosion were hospitalized, two for smoke inhalation and one for burns, according to officials.

Sgt. Paul Makuc of the Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit said the collecting of samples from the Tradebe site would likely continue through the week, but samples will need to be sent to labs for identification to determine the precise cause of the blast.

“The analysis of that data could take weeks – it could even take a couple of months,” Makuc said.

Makuc said the blast was not being investigated as a criminal act, and that it’s too early to determine whether or not negligence played a role.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim called the explosion “unacceptable.”

“This is not something we should be having to deal with after the fact with a guessing game as to what might have exploded, what caused the explosion and who’s responsible,” Ganim said.

Councilmember Eneida Martinez represents the area of the blast.

“It was an accident, which can happen anywhere,” Martinez said. “An explosion can happen anywhere. It can happen at a nearby gas station. It can happen close by. So it’s not anything that we can prevent.”

Tradebe did not return a request for comment on the explosion before publication. Officials are advising residents not to fish in waters near the site of the blast.

Chris Polansky joined Connecticut Public in March 2023 as a general assignment and breaking news reporter based in Hartford. Previously, he’s worked at Utah Public Radio in Logan, Utah, as a general assignment reporter; Lehigh Valley Public Media in Bethlehem, Pa., as an anchor and producer for All Things Considered; and at Public Radio Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., where he both reported and hosted Morning Edition.