New Zealand plant fire, Sanofi 'chemical incident' occur within days of each other

The Douglas Manufacturing plant in Auckland, New Zealand. (Douglas Manufacturing)

A fire at a contract manufacturing facility in New Zealand over the weekend required two dozen crews to extinguish. It came only days after a “chemical incident” at a Sanofi plant in Ireland sent two employees to the hospital.

The fire at the Douglas Manufacturing facility in Auckland on Saturday took five hours to extinguish, according to Auckland Now, requiring 24 crews at one point. There were no injuries. The cause of the fire was being investigated.

A spokesperson for the CDMO could not be reached for comment about the extent of the damage. The plant manufactures solid dose, liquid and softgel products, including high-potency softgel products, according to its website.

The fire came just days after an the incident in a lab at the Sanofi plant in Waterford, Ireland. Emergency services were immediately informed and responded swiftly after the “chemical incident” Wednesday morning, a Sanofi spokeswoman said in an email.

“Two members of the Waterford site team were injured and brought by ambulance to University Hospital Waterford where they received treatment. One has since been discharged,” she said.

The Health & Safety Authority was notified and is doing an investigation, Sanofi said.

Fires and explosions at pharma facilities are not common. An Amgen plant in Califonia had two incidents involving three injuries reported in a three-month period in 2013 and 2014. A Teva plant in Croatia killed four workers and injured 17 others in 2012. That same year, a fire at a former Sandoz plant in Canada interrupted production, complicating a shortage of cancer drugs at the time.