HILLSBORO, N.D. (AP) -- A chemical leak from a delivery truck hose forced the evacuation of the American Crystal Sugar Co., plant in Hillsboro, sending at least 20 people to area medical facilities to be checked out, Traill County officials say.
A statement from Crystal said a sulfur dioxide delivery truck was unloading into a storage tank when the gas escaped shortly before noon Wednesday. The plant uses sulfur dioxide to process sugar beets into sugar.
Crystal spokesman Jeff Schweitzer said the spill happened outside the building before the gas vaporized.
''Once the spill occurred and it vaporized, the cloud of chemical did enter into the building due to prevailing winds,'' he said.
Traill County Sheriff Mike Crocker said the spill was caused by a broken hose between the tanker and the storage tank.
Twenty-one people were taken to hospitals in Mayville and Hillsboro, the sheriff said. Some reported respiratory problems and the driver of the truck suffered burns to his feet, the sheriff said.
A hazardous materials team was being sent to take the hose off the truck and the public was not in danger, the sheriff said.
Emergency crews were on the scene to administer oxygen to employees who were exposed to the gas, the company said. Most of those sent to medical facilities were contractors doing work at the factory, Crystal said.
About 225 people, including 75 construction workers, were at the plant, officials said.
The Moorhead, Minn.,-base cooperative has plants in Drayton and Hillsboro in North Dakota and in East Grand Forks, Crookston and Moorhead in Minnesota.