Leak at DuPont Plant injures workers, prompts evacuation

Posted at 11:34 AM, Apr 27, 2015

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Twenty-two people were transported to area hospitals after a liquid heating fluid leak at the DuPont Plant off Jeff Davis Highway, according to Chesterfield Fire and EMS spokesman Jason Elmore.  Twenty of those injured were DuPont employees or contractors. Two of them were Chesterfield firefighters.

Also, an additional 12 workers were assessed on scene but were not transported.

The condition of the workers taken to the hospital has not been released.

Emergency crews from Chesterfield County were dispatched to called to the Richmond Zytel Manufacturing facility around 10:45 a.m. on Monday.

"There was a leak of a liquid heating fluid that vaporizes at extremely high temperatures," said Chesterfield Fire Department's Jason Elmore. "Maintenance work was being done on the manufacturing line that caused the leak."

'Vapor can be flammable'

The leak immediately raised fire concerns at the 55-acre plant that manufactures films, fibers, specialty chemicals and protection technologies.

"This vapor can be flammable, so we had our crews standing by in case there was any fire," Elmore said.

The leak was contained to the property, but still sent 20 DuPont workers and two Chesterfield County Firefighters to area hospitals for inhalation irritation.  They were treated and released.  Another dozen patients were treated on the scene as more than 100 evacuated employees waited outside the facility for more than two hours.

"Most of the injuries are going to be caused by it being a vapor the folks that were in the immediate area at the time of the leak," said Elmore.

Officials: Leak posed no threat to neighbors

The leak prompted the evacuation of about 100 workers, but posed no threat to the community, officials said. There are 45,360 households, or 121, 111 people, within a five-mile radius of the plant, according to 2010 Census data.

News of the leak was alarming for Kendra June, who lives walking distance from the plant.

"It is a concern issue because with health issues something that close something that strong it is a concern even if not now later the effects it can have on my body and families body living so close to a plant like that," said June. "I am going to be looking more as to what is going on over there because if it becomes a issue they cannot control I may actually be looking to relocate."

No recent EPA violations at plant

The plant released 285, 145 pounds of chemicals in 2013, according to data reported to the EPA. The DuPont Spruance location has no recent EPA violations.

The reported chemicals released by the plant, according to EPA data are: Phenylenediamine, Ammonia, Biphenyl, Carbon Disulfide, Carbon Tetrachloride, Chlorine, Chloroform, Chromium, Chromium Compounds(Except Chromite Ore Mined In The Transvaal Region), Creosote, Dichloromethane, Dimethylamine, Hydrochloric Acid (1995 And After Acid Aerosols Only), N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone, Nickel, Nickel Compounds, Nitrate Compounds, Nitric Acid, P-Phenylenediamine, Sodium Hydroxide (Solution), Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Sulfate (Solution), Sulfuric Acid (1994 And After Acid Aerosols Only), Tetrachloroethylene, Toluene and. Trichlorofluoromethane

Anyone with additional information can email a photo or tip here. This is a developing story.

DuPont plant



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