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Homes Evacuated When People Get Sick Due To Leak

Jun 7, 2006 | Four DeBary homes were evacuated Wednesday morning when a chlorine leak from an old water treatment plant made people sick. Two garbage men were the first ones to be overcome by the fumes early Wednesday morning.

The leaking plant is near the intersection of 17-92 and Dogwood Trail. HAZMAT teams located the source of the leak and are working to get it safely cleaned up.

A waste management crew was driving down Dogwood Terrace at about seven Wednesday morning when they said they saw a brown haze over the road. It wasn't fog and it didn't take long for both men in the garbage truck to start getting sick.

"Burning in your nose, burning in your chest, make you want to throw up," said victim Kevin Thomas.

The men called 9-1-1 and HAZMAT crews quickly secured the area the best that they could. They determined that the cloud was chlorine gas that had escaped from a container at a former water treatment facility in the area. Four homes in the immediate area were evacuated.

"One to the east, one to the west, and two across the street, create an extra safety buffer," said Volusia County spokesperson Shelly Szafraniec.

One Volusia County HAZMAT worker had to be taken to the hospital when his suit was breached. He wasn't showing any symptoms of inhalation, but the county sent him to be checked out as a precaution.

The county said there were four unused chlorine tanks in the water facility. Crews detected and plugged a pinhole leak in one chlorine container. Crews were checking out the other three tanks to make sure there were no more leaks.

The two sanitation workers who got sick from the chlorine in the first place were treated on the scene and released.

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