An explosion involving a chemical reactor at a semiconductor factory left two people injured in Northwest Portland, OR.
Two men doing maintenance Thursday night near the chemical reactor at Wacker Siltronics ended up injured, fire department spokesman Paul Corah said. The reactor combines chemicals for manufacturing.
“The 9-1-1 call came in as a Hazmat explosion at the facility — an explosion of a chemical reactor which resulted in a fire and the release of chemical gases (reportedly phosgene gas and trichloroethylene),” American Medical Response reports. “With the assistance of Portland Fire & Rescue, two patients were identified and, after assessment at the scene, AMR paramedics transported both patients to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for further treatment.”
Phosgene gas is a major industrial chemical used to make plastics and pesticides. It is poisonous at temperatures about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Trichloroethylene is a colorless liquid used as a solvent for cleaning metal parts. Drinking or breathing high levels of trichloroethylene may cause nervous system effects, liver and lung damage, abnormal heartbeat, coma, and possibly death, the CDC reports.
A 56-year-old man and a 58-year-old man reported respiratory problems after the explosion and personnel took them to the hospital.
Two plant technicians and two Portland Fire hazmat technicians assessed the chemical reactor’s condition. The explosion drew more than 40 Portland Fire personnel.
Corah said the explosion remained confined to one part of the plant, which makes semiconductor wafers.