The Pfizer factory where a quarter of the country’s injectable drugs are made has been destroyed after a 135mph tornado ripped through the North Carolina town, leaving a trail of carnage in its wake.
A Pfizer factory in North Carolina was destroyed by a tornado on Wednesday, with rain scattering 50,000 pallets of medicine across the site and roofs collapsing and twisting in 135 mph winds.
The tornado originated near Nashville, North Carolina at 12:36 p.m. and moved northeast through the Rocky Mountains, 60 miles east of Raleigh, where it destroyed the Pfizer facility.
It ran out of steam 40 miles from Scotland Neck.
No serious injuries were reported, but homes lost their roofs and power lines were downed.
Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said the warehouse bore the brunt of the damage, adding: ‘I received reports of 50,000 pallets of medication that were scattered throughout the facility and damaged by rain and wind.’
A Pfizer facility in Rocky Mount, North Carolina was devastated by a tornado on Wednesday
Aerial photos give an idea of the extent of the damage, showing cars parked in front of the site
No one was injured in the tornado, shouting over the air as workers rushed to shelters
A Pfizer employee told ABC 11 that they all rushed to the safety zone when they heard about the impending storm.
He said lights flashed inside the facility, and then a sound ‘like a bomb went off.’
The noise lasted only one minute or 90 seconds.
Pfizer said the 250-acre site with 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space is ‘one of the largest sterile injectable facilities in the world’.
About 25 percent of all sterile injectables used in U.S. hospitals are produced on site, and 400 million units leave the site annually.
It manufactures vials, syringes, IV bags and bottles of anesthesia, analgesia, therapeutics, anti-infectives and neuromuscular blockers.
“We are evaluating the situation to determine the impact on production,” the company said.
‘Our thoughts are with our colleagues, our patients and the community as we rebuild from this weather event.’
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