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A fire broke out at a plant in Old Saybrook, Conn. on May 30, sending four workers to the hospital. The blaze occurred at Sound Manufacturing, a metal-cutting plant that uses lasers in its operations. Officials said that one of the lasers seems to have sparked the fire in the equipment.
Although a full investigation has not yet been completed, state environmental officials have raised concerns that the laser's lens may have been coated in a flammable or toxic substance. When heated by the laser process, the lens may have released the flammable vapors into the air, and sparked a fire, setting off industrial fire alarms.
Four employees were inside the plant at the time of the incident, and were able to extinguish the flames before fire crews arrived. Due to their exposure to the toxic chemicals, the workers were decontaminated and sent to Middlesex Hospital for evaluation. Six firefighters were decontaminated at the scene as a precaution, but were not sent to the hospital.
Jeff Chandler, a member of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which also reported to the scene, praised the workers for their quick thinking.
"Everything they did was right on the money in terms of their actions," Chandler said. "They shut off the machines, extinguished the fire and evacuated the area."
Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection systems.