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NH Ball Bearings worker: Explosion 'was like an earthquake'
Peterborough Fire Chief Joe Lenox talks to the Peterborough town administrator at the scene of an explosion at New Hampshire Ball Bearings Monday afternoon. (MEGHAN PIERCE PHOTO)
None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening, according to an official at the company's main headquarters in California and Gov. Maggie Hassan's spokesman Marc P. Goldberg.
An estimated 400 to 450 employees were in the 175 Jaffrey Road plant when firefighters were called to an automatic alarm at 3:37 p.m. Eventually four alarms would be struck, and more than 100 firefighters would respond.
"The machines tipped over. It was complete chaos. Where I ran out, the whole ceiling collapsed. There was debris everywhere. I just ran out of there as fast as I could," added the female worker, who was not hurt and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Late Monday night, Peterborough fire officials said the building will be closed until it is deemed safe and structurally sound.
Connor Foley of Jaffrey was working in the assembly room on the second floor.
Brittany Bernier of Dublin was working on the other side of the assembly room.
Many evacuated the building before they had their belongings, such as their cell phones, car keys or coats.
By 7 p.m., NHBB Vice President of Manufacturing Richard Bardellini had arrived to assess any structural damage.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, released this statement: "My thoughts and prayers are with everyone at New Hampshire Ball Bearings in Peterborough today. I am grateful for the first responders who are working at the scene, and as the situation unfolds, my staff and I remain ready to assist however we can."
Local fire officials and the state Fire Marshal's Office are investigating what caused the explosion. The extent of damage was not immediately known.
The company operates three manufacturing facilities in the United States and employs more than 1,500 workers.
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