Twenty-two people ended up rushed to area hospitals after a liquid heating fluid leak at the DuPont Plant off Jeff Davis Highway, according to Chesterfield, VA, Fire and EMS spokesman Jason Elmore.
Twenty of those injured were DuPont employees or contractors. Two of them were Chesterfield firefighters.
Also, an additional 12 workers ended up assessed at the scene but did not go to the hospital.
The condition of the workers taken to the hospital was not immediately available.
Emergency crews from Chesterfield County got the call to the Richmond Zytel Manufacturing facility at 10:45 a.m. on Monday.
“There was a leak of a liquid heating fluid that vaporizes at extremely high temperatures,” said Chesterfield Fire Department’s Jason Elmore. “Maintenance work was being done on the manufacturing line that caused the leak.”
The leak immediately raised fire concerns at the 55-acre plant that manufactures films, fibers, specialty chemicals and protection technologies.
“This vapor can be flammable, so we had our crews standing by in case there was any fire,” Elmore said.
The leak ended up contained to the property, but still sent 20 DuPont workers and two Chesterfield County Firefighters to area hospitals for inhalation irritation. More than 100 evacuated employees waited outside the facility for more than two hours.
“Most of the injuries are going to be caused by it being a vapor the folks were in the immediate area of at the time of the leak,” Elmore said.
The leak prompted the evacuation of about 100 workers, but posed no threat to the community, officials said. There are 45,360 households, or 121,111 people, within a five-mile radius of the plant, according to 2010 Census data.
The plant released 285,145 pounds of chemicals in 2013, according to data reported to the EPA. The DuPont Spruance location has no recent EPA violations.
The reported chemicals released by the plant, according to EPA data are: Phenylenediamine, Ammonia, Biphenyl, Carbon Disulfide, Carbon Tetrachloride, Chlorine, Chloroform, Chromium, Chromium Compounds (Except Chromite Ore Mined In The Transvaal Region), Creosote, Dichloromethane, Dimethylamine, Hydrochloric Acid (1995 And After Acid Aerosols Only), N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone, Nickel, Nickel Compounds, Nitrate Compounds, Nitric Acid, P-Phenylenediamine, Sodium Hydroxide (Solution), Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Sulfate (Solution), Sulfuric Acid (1994 And After Acid Aerosols Only), Tetrachloroethylene, Toluene and Trichlorofluoromethane.