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People living nearby said it sounded like a sonic boom. Joyce Cucchiara, who lives near the plant, told WHDH News “About 7:30 and we were sitting having dinner and then all of the sudden we thought the house was caving in. It was just unbelievable.” Firefighters were called in from several communities to battle the blaze. “On arrival we had a fire condition as well as a haz-mat situation,” said Middleton Fire Chief Frank Twiss. High among their concerns was the possibility that the explosion inside the plant could poison the air or the Ipswich River, which is near the plant. While some neighbors reported a strange odor in the air, Twiss said no homes were evacuated.