UPDATE: Chemical spill at Boar's Head plant in Petersburg

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Nearly a dozen people are recovering after a chemical leak in Petersburg. They were rushed to the hospital after that workplace accident, late Monday evening. The leak happened at the Boar's Head Meat Plant, in the 1900 block of Industrial Road.

That chemical leak happened in the production area of the plant where more than two dozen employees were working. Several of them began coughing and choking. Those workers were taken to the hospital.

A representative with the Department of Labor and Industry is investigating the spill and sent safety officers to  the Boar's Head plant today to question employees and gather information to see if  the company violated any  safety codes.  It is unclear when a cause for the spill will be determined.

It was around 6 p.m. in the evening when something went wrong at the Boar's Head plant in Petersburg.

"We were called for the release of a chemical called ozone -- it was in the vapor form," said Chief Steve Bowling with the Petersburg Fire Department.

25 employees were in the area of that chemical release. Investigators say 7 people were exposed to the chemical. They had difficulty breathing and were taken to the emergency room.

Nicole Bell: "What did it smell like?"
Roy Domscon: "Strong, like ammonia. Like really strong."

Roy Domscon has worked at the meat plant for two years. He didn't know what was going on until he and his co-workers were told to exit the facility.

"My supervisor came and told everybody to evacuate the building," he said.

Hazmat crews showed up to investigate.

Nicole Bell: "Do you how this chemical got into the air?
Chief Steve Bowling: "We're not 100% sure."

For several hours, police closed down the road leading to the plant.

Nicole Bell: "Are you worried about your safety going back inside?"
Roy Domscon: "A little bit."

By 8:00 Monday night the building was deemed safe. The cause of the leak has not been determined.

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