Refinery employees recover from chemical leak - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Refinery employees recover from chemical leak

Several oil refinery workers are staying in the hospital overnight after a chemical leak at the Valero on Mallory.

The refinery is back up and running after a chaotic scene Monday afternoon. Alarms rang out at the Valero oil refinery after a chemical leak at 3:40p.m.

A Valero spokesperson Acton News 5 that contractors were working on a gasoline production unit when a small amount of hydrofluoric acid, mixed with steam, leaked out.

Three contract workers were closest to the release. Paramedics rushed them to the hospital. Seven others nearby also went to the hospital. While the refinery evacuated workers, they say it was no threat to nearby homes.

"We want people that live out here in this community to know that it is not something that would pose a threat to them. It was something very small for those guys that were working right there, directly on that equipment and we're certainly taken the right precautions to make sure that they were checked out and taken care of," said Valero Spokesperson, Lisa Wheeler.

Wheeler also says the release was below a reportable quantity, but the refinery wanted to err on the side of caution. Hydrofluoric Acid can cause a range of symptoms, skin irritation being the least. The highest concentration of hydrofluoric acid can only be tolerated for five minutes before death. The Valero spokesperson says two workers were released from the hospital. The other eight are being kept overnight for observation.

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