An independent federal agency investigating chemical accidents to protect workers, the public, and the environment.

Text Size AA

Emergency Response Investigations



Accident Description & Recommendation

MFG Chemical Inc. Toxic Gas Release

Accident Description: On the evening of April 12, 2004, a chemical reactor overheated at the MFG Chemical manufacturing plant, releasing toxic allyl alcohol vapor. The resulting cloud sent 154 people to a local hospital and forced the evacuation of nearby residents.  Inadequate emergency response planning by the City of Dalton and Whitfield County was a contributing cause of the injuries and exposures among the public and responders. None of the responding police officers had the proper training or protective equipment to safely enter the toxic vapor cloud. The city had no automated emergency notification system or evacuation plan, and police officers were instructed to drive into the chemical cloud to alert neighborhood residents to evacuate. After the toxic vapor forced the unprotected police officers to retreat, firefighters wearing special breathing apparatus were eventually called in to complete the evacuation.

Universal Form Clamp Co. Explosion and Fire

Accident Description: One fatality and five injuries resulted from an explosion and fire in a mixing room at the Universal Form Clamp facility. Workers were heating and mixing flammable solvents in an open top tank. During the heating process, there was a sudden evolution of flammable vapors that ignited, resulting in the explosion and fire. The CSB concluded that there likely would have been no fatality or injuries had the company installed an employee alarm system, put adequate emergency action plans in place, and conducted regular emergency drills so that employees knew what to do in an emergency.

West Fertilizer Explosion and Fire

Accident Description:  A massive explosion at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility fatally injured twelve volunteer firefighters, two members of the public and caused hundreds of injuries. The CSB found that the West Volunteer Fire Department was not required to perform pre-incident planning for an ammonium nitrate-related emergency, nor were the volunteer firefighters required to attend training on responding to fires involving hazardous chemicals. As a result, the CSB made several safety recommendations to various stakeholders, including the EPA, to better inform and train emergency responders on the hazards of FGAN and other hazardous chemicals.

Herrig Brothers Farm Propane Tank Explosion

Accident Description:On April 9, 1998, an 18,000-gallon propane tank exploded at the Herrig Brothers farm in Albert City, Iowa. The explosion killed two volunteer firefighters and injured seven other emergency response personnel. Several buildings were also damaged by the blast.

Georgia-Pacific Corp. Hydrogen Sulfide Poisoning

Accident Description: On January 16, 2002, highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas leaked from a sewer manway at the Georgia-Pacific Naheola mill in Pennington, Alabama. Several people working near the manway were exposed to the gas. Two contractors from Burkes Construction, Inc., were killed. Eight people were injured–seven employees of Burkes Construction and one employee of Davison Transport, Inc. Choctaw County paramedics who transported the victims to hospitals reported symptoms of hydrogen sulfide exposure.

DPC Enterprises Festus Chlorine Release

Accident Description: On August 14, 2002, a chlorine transfer hose ruptured during a rail car unloading operation at the DPC Enterprises chlorine repackaging facility near Festus, Missouri. The hose rupture ultimately led to the release of 48,000 pounds of chlorine, causing three workers and 63 residents to seek medical treatment.

First Chemical Cops. Reactive Chemical Explosion Accident Description: On October 13, 2002, a violent explosion occurred in a chemical distillation tower at First Chemical Corporation in Pascagoula, Mississippi, sending heavy debris over a wide area. Three workers in the control room were injured by shattered glass. One nitrotoluene storage tank at the site was punctured by explosion debris, igniting a fire that burned for several hours.
Honeywell Chemical Incidents

Accident Description:On July 20, 2003, there was a release of chlorine gas from the Honeywell refrigerant manufacturing plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The accident resulted in the hospitalization of four plant workers and required residents within a half-mile radius to shelter in their homes. On July 29, 2003, a worker was fatally injured by exposure to antimony pentachloride when a gas cylinder released its contents to the atmosphere. On August 13, 2003, two plant workers were exposed to hydrofluoric acid, and one was hospitalized.

MFG Chemical Inc. Toxic Gas Release

Accident Description: On the evening of April 12, 2004, a chemical reactor overheated at the MFG Chemical manufacturing plant, releasing toxic allyl alcohol vapor. The resulting cloud sent 154 people to a local hospital and forced the evacuation of nearby residents.

DPC Enterprises Glendale Chlorine Release

Accident Description:On November 17, 2003, there was a release of chlorine gas from the DPC Enterprises chlorine repackaging facility in Glendale, Arizona, near Phoenix. Fourteen people, including ten police officers, required treatment for chlorine exposure. The release occurred when chlorine vapors from a rail car unloading operation escaped from a system designed to recapture the material, known as a scrubber. Owing to the exhaustion of absorbent chemicals in the scrubber, chlorine gas was released.

EQ Hazardous Waste Plant Accident Description:Explosions and fire at a hazardous waste facility forced the evacuation of approximately 16,000 residents from Apex, North Carolina, on October 5, 2006. The incident likely began in the oxidizer section of the EQ North Carolina waste facility, where chemicals such as pool chlorination tablets were stored. The fire was allowed to burn out and the facility was destroyed.
Little Propane General Store

Accident Description: Four people were killed and five others were seriously injured when propane vapors from a storage tank ignited and exploded at the Little General convenience store and gas station in Ghent, West Virginia. Propane was used as fuel inside the building, which was completely destroyed.

CITGO Refinery Hydrofluoric Acid Release and Fire Accident Description: A fire in the alkylation unit at CITGO’s Corpus Christi refinery led to a release of hydrofluoric acid (HF). The alkylation unit makes high-octane blending components for gasoline. One worker was critically burned.
Bayer CropScience Pesticide Waste Tank Explosion Accident Description: Two workers were fatally injured when a waste tank containing the pesticide methomyl violently exploded, damaging a process unit at the Bayer CropScience chemical plant in Institute, West Virginia.
Hoeganaes Corporation Fatal Flash Fires

Accident Description:Three combustible dust incidents over a six month period occurred at the Hoeganaes facility in Gallatin, TN, resulting in fatal injuries to five workers. The facility produces powdered iron and is located about twenty miles outside of Nashville.





Last Updated October 7, 2016

© All rights reserved