Toxic Gas Leak At Chemical Plant Forces Evacuations

Alabama chemical plant leaked liquid phosphorus tricholride that formed a toxic gas cloud and left one worker injured and resulted in two school closures.

MCINTOSH, Ala. (AP) — A toxic gas cloud that formed at a chemical plant in Washington County left a worker injured and resulted in the closure of two schools, officials said.

The industrial accident occurred Monday shortly after 6 a.m. at the Ciba Corp. plant in McIntosh. According to Washington County Emergency Management Director Stewart Jackson, a liquid, phosphorus tricholride, leaked and turned into a toxic gas cloud.

Jackson said the plant's hazardous materials team sprayed water to disperse the gas. He said the gas cloud traveled less than a mile and dissipated.

As a precaution, officials closed McIntosh Elementary and McIntosh High School and alerted residents who live within a three-mile radius of the plant.

Company spokeswoman Denise Taylor said one employee was treated for inhalation and taken to Springhill Medical Center in Mobile for observation. The employee was listed in good condition Tuesday.

Taylor said the company is investigating the cause of the leak.

The Ciba plant employs more than 500 workers and makes products for the plastics and paper industries.

Jackson said the plant shut down briefly, but was running again at 9:45 a.m. Monday.
More in Operations