Chemical Leak Forces Workers Out at MA Plant

Monday, July 2, 2018 @ 09:07 PM gHale

A chemical leak at the Thermal Circuits manufacturing plant on Technology Way in Salem, MA, sickened a number of workers and forced an evacuation of the building.

HazMat teams and firefighters got the call to the plant just after 9 p.m. June 24, after reports of multiple people overcome by gas. Workers flooded out of the building, into surrounding areas.

RELATED STORIES
WI Chem Plant Fire Injures 1
Massive Blaze at TN Auto Plant
No Cause Found in MI Magnesium Blaze
MI Plant Blast ‘How a Bomb Works’

The possibility of 20 people down was reported, and medical personnel were directed to check all those streaming out of the building to be checked for inhalation problems.

Decontamination units were set up at Salem Hospital. Police were called to the hospital to assist with managing the crowd. State police were also on the scene. The building was evacuated.

Radio reports indicated firefighters and HazMat teams were uncertain whether the latest leak was chlorine or something else.

This is the second chemical leak reported at the plant in the same day. The Fire Department initially responded just after 3:30 p.m. to an alert about a chlorine leak at the plant.

Some time after the original call, all resources of the department were rushed to the scene. Early on, Technology Way was closed down and firefighters and HazMat teams were immediately dispatched.

Radio communications alerted rescuers to the “mass casualty” incident although authorities said they were just beginning to assess the severity of exposure.

The leak appeared to have been under control at 4 p.m. The cleanup was completed at 8:33 p.m., and employees — as many as 400 — were allowed to return to all parts of the building except the area where the leak occurred.

Chlorine is a highly toxic yellow-green gas with a boiling point of approximately -30 degrees. It is a strong oxidizing agent capable of causing severe burns to throat and lung tissue. The first symptoms to be experienced after exposure are a severe stinging of the eyes, immediate burning of the throat and chest.

Thermal Circuits was founded in 1955 in Salem and manufactures surface heaters, air heaters, molded heaters, heater assemblies, and infrared panel emitters, according to its website. Its Technology Way facility is 52,000 square feet.



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.