Emergency personnel responded to a reported explosion just before 1:00 p.m. today at Johnson Matthey, 1246 Airport Road in Sevierville. Sevierville Fire Department personnel arrived to find smoke coming from the building, which dissipated shortly thereafter.
Out of an abundance of caution, residents and businesses within 1,000 feet of the building were advised by police officers, who went door-to-door, to shelter in place. After further assessing the situation and determining that a secondary explosion was possible, a voluntary evacuation of the same area was issued, again in a door-to-door fashion. A temporary shelter was ready to open, however no one decided to evacuate. Later in the afternoon the shelter in place/voluntary evacuation notice was rescinded.
According to Johnson Matthey officials, nickel aluminum powder in the building likely exploded, but didn’t leave the immediate building area. The fire within the building was quickly contained by a fire suppression system. Firefighters entered the building later and extinguished any remaining hot spots.
No injuries to Johnson Matthey employees or first responders were reported. SFD inspectors and Johnson Matthey staff will work to determine the cause of the explosion.
In addition to SFD and SPD, the following agencies are thanked for their response and assistance at the scene: Sevier County Emergency Management Agency, Pigeon Forge Fire Department, Sevier County Electric System, Sevier County Utility District, and Sevier County EMS.