19 people taken to the hospital after gas exposure at Nucor - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

19 people taken to the hospital after gas exposure at Nucor-Yamato

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Tent outside of Great Rivers Medical Center Tent outside of Great Rivers Medical Center

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Blytheville Fire Department told Region 8 News, 19 people were taken to the hospital on Sunday morning after a gas exposure.

Mike Carney is with the fire department and said crews were called out to the Nucor-Yamato plant at around 10 a.m. after people complained they were exposed to chlorine-dioxide vapors.

Carney said crews set up decontamination vents at Great River Medical Center and decontaminated everyone who was exposed.

"A lot of them had problems breathing," said Captain Joey Manrique.

However, it took decontaminating every single one of them for further examination.

"Ambulances were calling and saying that they needed to be decontaminated before they could go into the hospital," said Manrique.

About half of the people exposed were released from the hospital, but nine workers were held for more observations. All workers who stayed overnight were released on Monday, except for one.

"With chlorine gas one of our big concerns is their breathing," said Director of the Emergency Department Jennifer. "We were watching for symptoms of swelling in the nose or the throat, and also within the lungs."

The contamination affected all 19 workers, but the symptoms of some were more severe. Two of the workers were transported to other hospitals in the area.

"Depending on the concentration that they were exposed to, it's definitely going to make a difference as far as the symptoms that were exhibited," said Young. "We did see a range of symptoms."

Young said at one point decontamination was also done inside the building.

"Some of the workers had entered the emergency room, so at that point we actually had to decontaminate the emergency department," said Young

Nucor-Yamato released a statement stating that the leak had no risk to the public. They are currently conducting a thorough review of the incident with the assistance of safety, health and engineering experts.

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