Days ago a chemical fire raged at a plant on Manufacturer’s Road. It was the second such incident in under a month. The first, a chemical explosion at a Dalton Plant, seriously injured a worker. The latest had emergency fire fighters and hazardous material crews fighting to get the blaze under control before it left someone injured as well.
Chemical fires pose a great risk both to workers as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. So what caused the accident? A spokesperson with the Chattanooga Fire Department cleared it all up with Channel 12 News. He said, “Caustic material escaped from the hose and the tank, got on the side of the tank, sparked a small fire between the outer coating of aluminum insulation on the tank, the workers immediately evacuated the area.”
Nearly 3000 gallons of dangerous sodium hydroxide was ultimately spilled. Firefighters were able to spray the chemical fire with water until it was under control. It was more than enough time for nearby residents to become worried, however, as they saw smoke and vapor rising into the air.
One of the workers who was exposed to the chemicals needed to be hospitalized. All things considered, his injuries could have been much worse. According to a UTC chemist, “If you are using it at home like draino which contains sodium hydroxide you of course need to use eye and hand protection but of course if it gets on your skin it needs to be washed off.” Prolonged exposure could have left permanent damage.
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Source. WDEF.com, ‘http://www.wdef.com/news/story/Manufacturers-Road-Chemical-Fire-Put-Under-Control/JCYwhj0VfkS-E3jcnDYmdg.cspx?rss=3457,’ July 11, 2014.