NEWBURYPORT — Ward 5 City Councilor James McCauley is calling for a public meeting to discuss the city's response to a series of explosions Thursday morning at a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in the industrial park.

The explosions blew a hole in the roof of PCI Synthesis on Opportunity Way and forced the evacuation of the building as well as others. Fire officials said no one was injured. 

Later that afternoon, McCauley told The Daily News that he plans to schedule a Committee on Public Safety meeting to discuss the explosions and the city's response. McCauley chairs the committee.

"It's not to assign blame, it's to look at what we knew, and if there was a history of this," McCauley said. "Our approach and our response seemed spot on; we contained it and nobody was hurt, and I think part of the hearing process should commend that. Let's learn from that and uncover that type of information."

Deputy Fire Chief Stephen Bradbury said when firefighters responded to an alarm call about 4:30 a.m. Thursday, they saw smoke inside the plant. While firefighters were investigating the smoke, as many as six explosions occurred. 

McCauley said the meeting will tentatively be held Feb. 26 at City Hall, but that is subject to change.

The councilor said he hopes that by then, the city's police and fire departments will have had enough time to complete their investigations.

Staff writer Jack Shea covers Newbury­port City Hall. He can be reached via email at or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.

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