From: Richard Rosera <richardrosera**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Hazmat Scare at U. S. Nonwovens
Date: Sat, 9 Sep 2017 01:10:42 -0400
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Hazmat scare at U.S. Nonwovens sent employee running for exit
LUDLOW, Ky. - Fumes sent frightened employees hurrying out of an industrial plant Thursday, but there was no hazmat leak, a plant official said. us_ky industrial release injury unknown_chemical
"The building just basically got filled full of smoke and started burning our eyes and stuff," said Blake Colbin, who just started working at the U.S. Nonwovens plant at 1 Sandbank Road two months ago.
"I left my phone, wallet, everything in there. I got out as quick as possible. Yeah, it was little scary," Colbin said.
The fumes were created in the making of a drain cleaner, warehouse manager Pete Kohlmorgen said. U.S. Nonwovens is known for making household cleaning products.
Kohlmorgen insisted it was safe.
"The product is not toxic. It's not combustible. It's not explosive. There was nothing that leaked onto the ground. Everything is completely, 100 percent contained," Kohlmorgen said.
A hazmat crew, two fire departments and the Kentucky EPA vouched for the safety inside the building.
This sounds like it might be a case of vapors from hydrochloric acid and aqueous ammonia combining to form ammonium chloride (the "smoke") in the building. I have seen this type of thing occur both inside & outside factories which have these materials stored or used in close proximity. The first time I saw something like this occur was in the early 1980s. In that case it was caused by poorly functioning scrubbers for ammonia and for nitric acid in two different processes being run in different buildings. The plant was situated in a valley and the prevailing wind carried the vapors out of the end of the plant, where they combined to form "smoke" (i.e., ammonium nitrate). Since the exterior of that end of the plant happened to be unoccupied at that point, nobody in the plant saw this plume of "smoke". The first inkling that something was amiss occurred when the local fire department arrived at the main gate at the other end of the plant and said that somebody outside the plant had reported that the plant was on fire!
Rosearray EHS Services LLC
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