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Chemical reaction incident at Strongwell sends 1 worker to hospital - TriCities.com: News

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Chemical reaction incident at Strongwell sends 1 worker to hospital

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Posted: Thursday, June 5, 2014 11:30 pm | Updated: 11:35 pm, Thu Jun 5, 2014.

BRISTOL, Va. — An early morning reaction inside a chemical processing room at Strongwell Corp. on Commonwealth Avenue resulted in one worker being hospitalized, a company spokesman said Thursday.

Strongwell Marketing Manager Barry Myers said the company is still investigating to determine if a freezer malfunctioned or if a catalyst that cause a prescribed chemical reaction began its process too early, but 14 gallons of resin vaporized into the air.

Three workers in that area were exposed and immediately put through a decontamination process and other accident protocols, Myers said.

"There was no explosion or anything like that, just a chemical reaction that emitted a vapor that some workers got into close contact with," he said.

A male worker was taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center for further treatment and was being held for observation for 24 hours, the company official said.

The plant suspended operations and evacuated all personnel while safety checks were performed and a hazardous materials unit from the Bristol Virginia Fire Department contained the chemical.

The room where the incident occurred, where resin is produced, was still closed off Thursday afternoon, but the plant had been reopened, Myers said.

A contracted crew was brought in by Strongwell Thursday afternoon to contain materials disbursed by the incident, he said.

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