The Progress - Index
PETERSBURG, Va. — Six people were sent to the hospital after a chemical spill at a Boar's Head Provisions industrial plant on Monday. Twenty-six more workers who were exposed to the chemical refused medical evaluation, said Petersburg Fire Chief T.C. Hairston. None of the patients suffered injuries.
Emergency crews were first dispatched at 5:32 p.m. on Monday, arriving at the Boar's Head plant at 1950 Industry Place in Petersburg 10 minutes later. "Workers reported that some ozone had leaked," Hairston said, adding that the gas is used at the plant as an accelerator.
Depending on the amount inhaled, ozone can lead to respiratory problems or even death. "In this incident, only a small amount leaked," Hairston said.
One fire engine, one truck, one command unit and six ambulances were dispatched to the scene. "We also brought in a chemical unit, because there was mass casualty potential," Hairston said.
Of the 32 people exposed to the gas, six agreed to undergo medical evaluation. They were transported to Southside Regional Medical Center and released later in the evening without displaying any symptoms.
A company spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Hairston added that the situation at the plant was contained by 7 p.m. and that the last unit left the facility an hour later. The plant resumed operations later that night.
Boar's Head Provisions is a private company categorized under wholesale meat. Current estimates show that the company has an annual revenue of $100 to $500 million and employs a staff of 250 to 500 in seven locations.
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