Scrap yard workers ill after chlorine gas leak

Posted at 11:28 AM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-31 17:29:27-04

Police are investigating the cause of a chlorine gas leak that sickened several workers in Phoenix on Tuesday morning.

Officials were called to the scene near McDowell Road and 21st Avenue around 11 a.m. after scrap yard workers reported smelling what turned out to be chlorine gas. A crane reportedly hit and punctured a tank, causing a chlorine gas leak. 

Police, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and other agencies are investigating how the chlorine gas leak occurred. The one-ton tank should have been empty when it was delivered to the scrap yard, officials say. Investigators are going through shipment records to find out when the tank was delivered and from whom. 

Nine workers became ill and at least six had to be taken to the hospital for treatment. They are all said to be recovering well and escaped what could have been a deadly situation.

Wind in the area worried officials at the scene, as the chlorine gas could have blown to nearby businesses, schools and other buildings in the area. Fortunately, no other injuries outside of the scrap yard were reported.

The gas was not enough to be a lethal dose to surrounding areas, but easily could have been an irritant to eyes and lungs. Fire officials say the scene is no longer a public safety hazard.