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Explosion, fire damage Hydrodec plant in Canton

Beacon Journal staff report

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An explosion and fire Sunday afternoon rocked the Hydrodec North America transformer oil refining plant on Steinway Boulevard in Canton.

No injuries were reported, according to Canton police. No neighborhood evacuations were needed as a result of the explosion.

All employees were accounted for, said Canton police Lt. Dan McCartney.

The plant reprocesses used transformer oil collected from electric utilities. The company stores liquid hydrogen on site that is used in its refining process, according to Hydrodec documents on its website.

The explosion was called in shortly after 4 p.m. by a Canton police officer working in the area.

Fire personnel were able to extinguish the fire by about 7 p.m., according to the Canton Fire Department.

Investigators remained on the scene Sunday night to determine the cause of the fire. A damage estimate was not immediately available.

The transformer oil processor is located in a largely industrial area of Canton.

The plant, at 2021 Steinway Blvd. SE, opened in 2008.

The plant was designed to recycle used transformer oil into new oil that utilities can reuse.

At the time of its opening, the facility had 30 employees and was said to be the first of its kind in the United States with the capacity to recycle 8 million gallons of transformer oil per year.

The company traces its roots to 1992, when the Australian power industry asked the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation to come up with a way to remove cancer-causing PCBs from used transformer oil, according to history on Hydrodec’s website.

Within eight years, the process was developed and then patented.

In 2001, Hydrodec was formed.

Along with the Canton plant, the company has locations in Australia and plans to expand in Japan, Hydrodec stated on its website.


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