A business on Messer Airport Highway was evacuated on Monday morning after authorities received a hazmat call. The incident happened at the Bermco Industrial Center at 3230 Messer Airport Highway around 9:30 a.m.
Bermco Industrial Vice President Bob Hollabaugh said a vender bringing in a one ton cylinder of chlorine dropped it and the cylinder broke. The alarms went off and everyone went to their place of safety, Hollabaugh said.
Chief C.W. Mardis with Birmingham Fire and Rescue said four firefighters suffered minor injuries by inhaling fumes from the spilled chlorine, which was in liquid form. They were treated at the scene and were not transported to a hospital, Mardis said.
Liquid chlorine is a serious irritant to anyone who may inhale the fumes. Fortunately, there is no danger to the community since the hazmat crew was able to control the spill.
The chlorine spill has been sealed off and Chief Mardis said it will be up to ADEM and the EPA to determine what to do with the leaked chlorine. As a precaution, the area near the spill has been closed off to employees while hazmat crews and firefighters investigate.
As of 1 p.m., employees were not allowed to leave the area and no cars were allowed to enter. One company brought in pizzas to feed the employees who are waiting to be allowed back to work. Messer Airport Highway is still open to traffic.
Bermco Industrial is a secondary aluminum smelter plant and uses chlorine to melt aluminum.
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