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Toxic gases may have been emitted during a recent fire at an Old Saybrook, Conn. factory sending four people to the hospital and countless others to require decontamination.
According to The Hartford Courant, the fire broke out at Sound Manufacturing, a precision metal cutting operation that uses a powerful laser, when that laser malfunctioned and caught fire. Four employees were inside the building, and used various fire suppression methods, such as a fire extinguisher, to contain the fire.
"Everything they did was right on the money in terms of their actions," Jeff Chandler, of the Department of Environmental Protection emergency response team, told Connecticut's NBC affiliate WVIT. "They shut off the machines, extinguished the fire and evacuated the area."
It is unclear whether or not the building was equipped with a toxic gas detector. According to Middlesex's News 8 affiliate WTNH, the concern stems from the zinc selenide used to coat the lens of the laser, capable of releasing flammable vapors when exposed to high heat.
All four employees present during the fire were decontaminated in a wash before being sent to the Middlesex Hospital. As Chief of Emergency Services Michael Spera noted, six firefighters also underwent decontamination procedures in the case of an exposure to poisonous gas.
Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection systems.