Monday, August 11, 2003

Chemical leak overcomes two N. Ky. officers

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - Hazardous materials crews converged on a specialty chemical manufacturing company here Saturday night after toxic fumes overcame two police officers responding to a break-in alarm, officials said.

The Covington officers drove themselves to St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Covington for treatment after finding a chlorine line ruptured at H&S Chemical Co. shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday.

Authorities did not identify the officers and their conditions were not available Sunday.

H&S Chemical is located at 1025 Mary Laidley Drive, 10 miles south of downtown Cincinnati.

Covington fire department, hazardous materials crews and chemists were sent to the laboratory after being notified by the police officers.

Crews found that a line coming out from a 100-pound bottle of chlorine had ruptured. Another chemical appeared to have spilled on the floor.

"We were concerned about securing the chlorine first," said Bob Welch, spokesman for Greater Cincinnati Hazardous Materials.

A team of technicians in HazMat suits secured the chlorine bottle by shutting off the valve, then turning on the exhaust system to disperse the toxic cloud.

The other solution on the floor turned out to be water, Welch said.

The ruptured line was isolated to one bottle of chlorine, he said. "It didn't progress into any other areas and cause problems," Welch said.

The building was turned back over to H & S Chemical Co. around midnight. Owner Charles A. Schneider did not return a phone call Sunday.



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