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Official: Mechanical failure at NJ food lab caused blast

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TOTOWA, N.J. (AP) — A fire official says a mechanical failure apparently caused two explosions at a food laboratory in northern New Jersey, leaving two workers with cuts and bruises.

Totowa Fire Marshal Allen Del Vecchio tells The Star-Ledger he felt the blast from Pharmachem Laboratories in Totowa at his house a mile away.

Pharmachem produces ingredients that flavor foods. Workers say they had just started on a new recipe for eggnog when the blast occurred.

Del Vecchio says the first explosion apparently came from a furnace-like device that was heating a vat containing eggnog flavoring ingredients. A subsequent blast apparently involved a pocket of hot air or gas that had built up inside the vat.

The entire rear of the building was blown out.