Chemical Plant Blast Hurts 8

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 @ 10:02 AM gHale

Eight people ended up treated for chemical inhalation and skin irritation following a fire at the Warsaw Chemical Company on Friday, official said.

A fire at the plant followed by an explosion caused tanks to rupture, leaking chemicals into storm drains and Winona Lake, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

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Eight people ended up treated at Kosciusko Community Hospital for chemical inhalation and skin irritation. One plant employee suffered burns on his hands, officials said.

Crews with Environmental Remediation Services of Fort Wayne were on scene late Friday night and early Saturday morning, Feb. 7, treating the area after thousands of gallons of chemicals — mostly menthol — mixed into the water and snow in the surrounding area, conservation officer Jerry Hoerdt said.

“We are trying to re-oxygenate the water,” he said Saturday morning. “Thankfully, we have not seen any fish or wildlife in the area that have been affected, but we are monitoring that.”

The cause of the fire is still unknown and will be until emergency workers can clean up the chemicals from the area, Lt. Kip Shuter of the Warsaw Police Department said.

An investigation is underway.

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