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Two people ended up in the hospital Wednesday afternoon with non-life threatening injuries after a barrel of acid exploded at a Shiawassee County, MI, factory.

The incident occurred Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. at Machine Tool and Gear, in Corunna, MI. The factory is an automotive supplier that primarily builds axles for vehicles.

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There was a reaction with the company’s nitric acid that caused a 55 gallon steel barrel to split, said Corunna Caledonia Fire Department Deputy Chief Brian Matthies.

“There were three people that were exposed,” Matthies said. “Two of them were transported to (Hurley Medical Center) for observation with minor injuries … the third person signed a refusal to seek any treatment.”

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The spill was about 30 to 35 gallons and ended up contained to the area of origin, Matthies said. Another area where one of the employees exposed to the acid took a decontamination shower was also contained. Matthies said the acid did not enter any of the drains.

All employees at the factory evacuated following the spill. Matthies said management is hoping to have things up and running again for the third shift, but it remains unknown when they will get the all clear.

“They are hoping to open back up for third shift,” Matthies said. “They have called Young’s Environmental Clean-up to clean-up the mess. It’s going to be determined by Young’s if it’s safe to go in from there. They have all the air quality monitoring … to determine if it’s safe or if they’re going to have to wait 24-hours or if they’ll be able to go back to operations tonight for third shift.”

The Corunna Caledonia Fire Department, Livingston County Hazmat Team, and Shiawassee County Emergency Management all responded to the scene.

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