Chemical Spill Injures Worker

Thursday, February 15th 2007, 4:53 pm
By: News On 6

A chemical spill shut down a shopping area in midtown Tulsa Thursday afternoon for several hours. Tulsa Hazmat crews have since cleared the area, but not before one person was taken to a Tulsa hospital and rush-hour traffic was snarled.

SkyNews 6 was first on the scene behind Tulsa firefighters. Upon arrival, Tulsa Fire crews immediately taped off the back of a strip mall near 36th and Harvard. A woman was found unconscious inside Globe Dry Cleaners, lying in a pool of toxic cleaning chemicals.

Tulsa Fire district chief Eddie Bell says she was working when the chemical spilled onto the floor and she was overcome by the fumes. "She was unconscious when they rescued her out of the building. Once they got her outside into the fresh air they say she started coming around, started coming back to." Bell says the unidentified woman suffered second degree chemical burns over 20 percent of her body.

Meanwhile, Tulsa Police had to shut down two lanes of Harvard as a precaution. That snarled traffic in the area and Tulsa Fire also evacuated the other businesses in the strip mall.

After taking all the needed precautions, a Tulsa Fire Hazmat team re-entered the dry cleaning business to mop up. They say there were 5 to 10 gallons of the chemical on the floor. "We all know that any time you come into contact with some of the chemicals they use in the cleaning process that they are flammable, they're toxic, they have all sorts of capabilities. It’s not something uncommon. We don't see it a lot though," said Eddie Bell.

Bell says the chemical was identified as perchloroethylene, a commonly used dry cleaning chemical. He added the public was never at risk.