Part of Georgetown Toyota plant evacuated after hazmat incident
GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WKYT) - A section of the Georgetown Toyota plant was evacuated and one person was sent to the hospital after a chemical accident Monday morning.
Scott County Emergency Management says there was an accidental mixing of two chemicals in the “paint two” area of the plant. That caused a release of some sort of gas.
Officials say a truck carrying liquid nitrous oxide hooked up to the wrong tank, which held phosphorus.
“When nitrous oxide and phosphorus got together, it caused this chemical reaction,” said Michael Hennigan, director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for Georgetown and Scott County.
It wasn’t explosive, but it produced this mustard-looking gas called nitric acid, a hazard to anyone in close contact. That section of the plant was evacuated.
Toyota says about 200 employees were affected. Two people in the paint area was taken to the Georgetown hospital as a precaution.
“Nitric acid gas could cause breathing problems or skin irritation,” Hennigan said.
No other injuries were reported.
Emergency management officials say no other part of the facility was impacted. Several local fire departments sent personnel to assist the hazmat team. Crews flooded the contaminated tank with about 3,000 gallons of water.
“Everybody that we could put on this incident we brought as fast as we could to make sure we got it under control before it became a problem for the general public,” Hennigan said.
Hennigan says what happened posed no threat to the public. He says once that gas got into the air it reverted back to nitrogen and oxygen. Toyota is, however, working with an environmental company to finish decontaminating impacted areas of the plant.
Toyota says first shift production for the whole plant was suspended and second shift was a two-hour delay. They say they expect normal operations for Tuesday.
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