35 Hurt in Explosions Convulsing Upstate Cosmetics Factory

NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. (AP) -
Firefighters work at the scene of a fire Monday at the Verla International cosmetics factory in New Windsor, N.Y. (Allyse Pulliam/Times Herald-Record via AP)

Two explosions and a fire at a cosmetics factory about an hour’s drive north of New York City Monday morning left as many as 35 people injured, including seven firefighters caught in the second blast.

New Windsor police say the first explosion occurred around 10:15 a.m. at the Verla International cosmetics factory. Firefighters who responded were inside when the second explosion occurred at around 10:40 a.m.

Police said more than 25 employees were injured in addition to the firefighters. The injured included a firefighter who was taken to the burn unit at Westchester Medical Center. None of the injuries appear to be life threatening.

Crews battled the blaze into Monday afternoon. A man who answered the phone at one of the responding fire departments called the blaze a “five-alarm chemical fire with multiple counties helping.”

“I don’t believe at this point that it is completely under control,” Town Supervisor George Green said.

Video showed thick, black smoke spewing from a section of the roof of the sprawling facility, which includes manufacturing and warehouse buildings. Workers milled about a parking lot while fire crews looked on.

The fire is believed to be caused by chemicals used at the plant.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said state emergency response teams have been sent to the factory. State personnel dispatched included homeland security staffers, state police, environmental conservation enforcement officers and health department technicians.

The factory is about a half-mile from the town hall and police station in New Windsor. The 37-year-old company produces nail polish, perfumes, lotions and other products.