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Worker Dies in Industrial Leak Near Pensacola

Jun 7, 2006 |

Investigators are working to determine the cause of a toxic gas leak at an industrial plant near Pensacola that killed one worker.

Authorities say the victim died after inhaling toxic hydrogen sulfide gas at the Blackjack Creek Treating Facility in Allentown, about 20 miles northeast of Pensacola. The toxic chemical is created in the process of making crude oil. Joseph Smith was injured, but has been treated and released from the hospital.

Fire officials say Monday's leak did not affect anything outside the plant or its boundaries. The plant was closed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 2002 while extensive repairs were made to reduce sulfur dioxide and possible hydrogen sulfide emissions.

The company paid $125,000 in civil penalties and completed a pollution prevention project instead of the balance of the penalties, according to a consent order.

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