2 taken to hospital after Presidents Island hazmat incident - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

2 taken to hospital after Presidents Island hazmat incident

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Two W. M. Barr employees were taken to The MED Friday evening after two 55-gallon drums exploded at the Presidents Island plant.

Both employees were decontaminated as a precautionary measure after being exposed to an unknown substance. They were taken to The MED's burn unit, said Memphis Fire spokesman Lt. Wayne Cooke.

Both employees are in non-critical condition and they shared an ambulance to the hospital.

The fire department received a call there was an explosion at the plant at around 6:55 p.m. When crews arrived 42 of the plants employees had evacuated.

Lt. Cooke said two of their 10 55-gallon containers of unknown substances exploded and it got on two of the employees.

"There were 10 55-gallon containers in the warehouse in a concentrated area," Lt. Cooke said. "Two of those containers exploded. Two employees were exposed to the product."

Fire and plant officials are trying to identify the unknown substance the employees were exposed to.

"This is the first, to my knowledge, to happen at this particular company with these drums," Lt. Cooke said. "Those drums had various chemicals in it. We are still in the process of attempting to identify what those chemicals are."

No firefighters were injured and there was no threat to residents near Channel Avenue, where the plant is located.

"We did isolate the area. It was evacuated for the safety of those around," Lt. Cooke said. "No residents were exposed to the product."

The incident remains under investigation.

W. M. Barr manufactures specialty cleaning products like removers, thinners, solvents, and heavy-duty cleaners for consumer and industrial customers in the automotive, household and home improvement industries.

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