Gas leak sends workers to hospital - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gas leak sends workers to hospital

WOODLAND, CA (KOVR/CNN) – Dozens of people had to go to the hospital on Sunday due to a chemical gas leak at a tomato canning plant in Woodland, CA.

Workers at Pacific Coast Producers rushed from the plant after a dangerous gas leak left up to 40 people gasping for air.

"We're just focused right now getting medical care to those who need it, evacuating the plant and making sure everyone's accounted for," said Corporate Counsel Mona Shulman.

The 40 people were transferred to nine different hospitals after the chlorine dioxide gas, which is used to clean tomatoes and fruit being canned at the plant, leaked in a section of the facility. The chemical can cause breathing problems for anyone who comes in contact with it.

Officials say two people who were hospitalized with serious effects from the gas, but plant managers say based on the size of the facility, they are lucky things were not much worse.

"On a normal shift, there can be anywhere from 800 to 1,000 people a shift," Shulman said.

People who live near the plant also were affected, and many sought refuge inside their homes.

Many of the workers affected were quickly treated and released. Some even returned to work four hours after they were taken to the hospital.

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