March 22, 2012
At 9:25 pm, Portland Fire crews responded to reports of an explosion involving a chemical reactor at Wacker Siltronics in Northwest Portland. Wacker Siltronics, located at 7200 N.W. Front Avenue, produces semiconductor wafers.
Two employees were working near the chemical reactor at the time of the explosion performing maintenance. The chemical reactor, which combines chemicals for the manufacturing process, is housed inside the large plant. Reports indicate that the chemical trichlorosilane, a chemical compound containing silicon, hydrogen, and chlorine, was present on the dome of the reactor. Trichlorosilane is a source of ultra pure silicon and is widely used in the semiconductor industry. The chemical explosion occurred when oxygen entered the atmosphere and interacted with the chemical.
A 56-year-old male and a 58-year-old male both suffered from respiratory ailments following the explosion and were transported to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. At this time, two plant technicians and two Portland Fire HazMat technicians are preparing to enter the chemical vessel to evaluate the vessel's condition. The explosion was isolated to one portion of the plant; only the immediate area around the reactor where the explosion occurred was evacuated.
In total, 44 Portland Fire personnel including the HazMat Team, a Portland Fire investigator, and four chief officers responded to this incident.