CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - A chemical spill at a warehouse Tuesday
night prompted firefighters and police to evacuate about 1,000
nearby residents and close roads leading to the spill area.
Seven firefighters, five police officers and a reporter were
treated for chemical burns, respiratory irritation and other
injuries related to exposure. No residents were injured, said Capt.
Rob Brisley of the Charlotte Fire Department.
"The heat and the chemical exposure was literally penetrating
their gear, forcing them to retreat with burn-type injuries,"
Brisley said of the firefighters who first responded.
Those treated for chemical burns were expected to be released
from the hospital later that night, said Presbyterian Hospital
spokesman Kevin McCarthy.
Residents were sent to a shelter at Harding High School. By
10:30 p.m., the threat to residents was over and they were sent
back to their homes, Brisley said.
The chemical, thiourea dioxide, spilled inside American Storage
& Warehouse Co., about 6:30 p.m. The cause of the spill was still
under investigation.
"This type of chemical has a significant reaction with water,
so the investigation will center around where in the warehouse and
how this reaction took place," Brisley said.
A hazardous materials team was on site late Tuesday packing the
spilled chemical into safe drums.
It was the second time in less than a month that the same
chemical has spilled at the business. On Aug. 26 about 1,000 pounds
of the granular chemical spilled. The chemical can produce noxious
fumes when mixed with a small amount of water.
Much more of the chemical spilled Tuesday, according to fire
officials, who did not yet know the amount spilled.
Authorities alerted residents to the spill by driving down roads
announcing it on loud-speakers.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press