PORTLAND - A Thursday evening chemical explosion at the Siltronic plant in Northwest Portland injured at least two men.

Portland Fire bureau spokesman Paul Corah said the blast at the silicon wafer factory, located at 7200 NW Front Avenue, was reported at about 9:30 p.m.

The explosion was near a chemical reactor and involved trichlorosilane, commonly used in the production of silicon wafers. The compound includes silicon, hydrogen and chlorine.

The workers were cleaning an area near the reactor, Corah said. Oxygen entered the reactor, creating the explosion.

Two men in their 50s were taken to a nearby hospital with respiratory issues, he said. Steps were taken to protect ambulance and hospital workers from exposure to the chemicals on the patients.

Siltronic workers were examined by the bureau's hazardous materials team. It was unknown how many others may have been exposed in addition to the two taken to the hospital.

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