These people have much to be thankful for after this disaster. (from www.whdh.com) Chemical plant explosion, fire damage about 90 homes near Boston; only minor injuries DANVERS, Mass. -- Massive explosions at a chemical plant ripped through a commercial and residential neighborhood early Wednesday, shaking homes from their foundations, blowing out windows and tearing roofs off buildings. Nearly 90 homes were damaged -- many destroyed -- yet only 10 people of the more than 300 people believed home at the time suffered minor injuries. The cause remained under investigation. The explosion occurred at CAI Inc. just before 3 a.m. in the Danversport area, about 20 miles north of Boston. Gov. Mitt Romney, who toured the damage at midday, said the devastation was shocking. "The miracle is you have the equivalent of a 2,000-pound bomb going off in a residential neighborhood at night when everybody is home, and no one's dead and no one is seriously injured," he said. Danvers Fire Chief James P. Tutko surveyed the area by helicopter and said many residents would be kept from their homes for the foreseeable future. "It looks like a war zone, that's the only thing I can say," Tutko said. When asked how remarkable it was that no one was killed, the chief said: "Somebody out there likes us." Finding the cause of the explosion could be days away, Tutko said. Several small structural fires still burned several hours after the explosion. A person who answered the telephone at CAI's headquarters in Georgetown refused comment; a message left at the company president's home was not immediately returned. "I was in bed and then next thing I knew, I was on my feet," said Paul O'Donnell, 44. "I saw the flames and grabbed my clothes. My first thought was that an airplane crashed, but then I thought it was too early for that." Fred Grenier, 25, was asleep in a rear, second-floor bedroom on nearby Bates Street when the explosion awakened him and his girlfriend, Trisha Lynch, 22. Their house is about 200 yards from CAI Inc. "The windows came caving in. The AC fell right on me," he said. His girlfriend's sister, Jennifer Lynch, was asleep in a bedroom that faced the plant and needed stitches for cuts on her face, Grenier said. "There were windows gone, doors gone, vinyl siding off the houses," Grenier said, describing the scene when he went outside. Electricity also was knocked out throughout the area. "Everyone was out in the street making sure everybody's all right," he said. "When you went out on the front porch, you could feel the heat." Nancy Chick, who lives in a second-floor condominium across the Crane River, said she was knocked out of bed and saw flames out her bedroom windows. The shock was so strong it bowed her windows inward and sucked her curtains halfway out before the windows returned to their normal position in the frames. Afterward, the curtains hung from their rod at the top and flapped outside her window -- even though it was closed. "I never saw anything like it," said Chick, 66, a resident of the Harborview Condominiums. "All the pressure must have blown it in and then sucked it out." State Police Maj. Kevin Kelly, who responded to the scene, said he felt the explosion at his home 21 miles away. Other neighbors mistook it for an earthquake, while one caller to WBZ-AM said he looked out his window and saw "the picture of London during the blitz -- that silhouette." All utilities were cut off to the neighborhood. Some residents who tried to leave for work were unable to use their cars because their garage doors had been blown off their rails. While CAI makes solvents and inks, Tutko said there was no risk of toxic fumes escaping into the air. Mike Nalipinski, on-scene coordinator for Environmental Protection Agency, said preliminary tests showed low levels of toluene, a solvent, but nothing of significance. Runoff from water used by fire fighters left a purple sheen on the nearby river, and water tests were being conducted, but Nalipinski said it was not a drinking water supply and the chemical evaporates quickly. Deputy Harbor Master Ron Skinner said there was damage to 10 to 20 boats that had been pulled from the water for the season at a Waters River marina. Town officials canceled school for the day, the last day of classes scheduled before the Thanksgiving holiday. The Red Cross established a relief center at Danvers High School, which immediately filled without 100 elderly and disabled residents of the New England Home for the Deaf. Officials were searching for facilities to care for the residents pending their return to the home. "These people are extremely fragile," said state Rep. Ted Speliotis, D-Danvers, who represents the area. "Many of them have Alzheimer's and other illnesses. It's clear they can't stay here long, but it's clear they won't be able to return for quite a while," Speliotis said. He said the home had broken windows and doors. Volunteers and nurses attended to them -- many still in their johnnies or pajamas -- as they sat in a gymnasium and huddled under blankets. The school cafeteria opened to prepare breakfast. Other area residents rushed to the school, one offering blankets and insulin, others bringing over food that had been prepared for a Thanksgiving party at the elementary school closest to the blast scene. "These are kids from our school district, people in our neighborhood," said Martha Barrett and she and Judith Truax dropped off fruit salad, rolls and corn bread. "It's a miracle no one was killed. It truly was." Speliotis said other residents were sure to be displaced from the neighborhood. "It's an old neighborhood along the river that's been here since the 1700s," he said. "It's always had a mixture of business and residential because it was developed before there was zoning." The representative said he grew up two streets away and never knew CAI was in its location, since it was tucked away behind a bakery and pizza shop. There is an Eastern Propane facility close to the CAI facility, but that was not the cause of the explosion, said company spokesman Jeff Taylor. He said all the company's tanks are secure, although the property suffered some minor damage.