dchas + us_wi   280

One injured at scene of acid spill in Beloit
BELOIT, Wis. - The City of Beloit Fire Department is cleaning up the scene of an acid spill this morning.

The department said it happened around 11:23 a.m. in the 2800 block of Kennedy Drive. The business nearby was evacuated as a precaution. 

One person was injured at the scene, but the department said that person did not need to be taken to the hospital.
us_WI  public  release  injury  acids 
4 weeks ago by dchas
Janitor mixing chemicals creates 'chemical cloud,' causing Rock County Courthouse to evacuate, close
JANESVILLE, Wis. - A chemical cloud formed while a janitor was preparing water treatment products at the Rock County Courthouse on Friday morning, leading to an evacuation, officials said. 

The Rock County Sheriff's Office held a news conference Friday morning, saying the chemical spill was caused by a facilities management worker who mixed chemicals to treat water for the courthouse air cooling system when a chemical cloud formed, which activated the alarm system. The courthouse was evacuated. The call reporting the incident came in at 8:30 a.m.
us_WI  public  release  response  water_treatment 
5 weeks ago by dchas
Sushi 'crunch' caused 2 restaurant fires by spontaneous combustion, Madison Fire Department says
How can a tasty sushi topping cause a fire? Two Madison restaurants learned the hard way.

The Madison Fire Department issued a fire hazard warning Thursday about "crunch", or "crunchy," a deep-fried batter sprinkled on top of sushi rolls, that can spontaneously catch fire when not stored properly.

Two Japanese restaurants, Sumo Steakhouse and Sushi Bar on April 5, and Takara Japanese Restaurant on May 10, had such fires, with damages from the two fires estimated to total at least $575,000.

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"The fires were caused by a food preparation technique where oil used to make a tempura-like crunch self-heats and spontaneously combusts," said MFD spokeswoman Cynthia Schuster.

What happens is the batter is fried in vegetable oil, then the crunch is put into a bowl or colander to drain and cool. If unattended while cooling, the crunch can retain heat and get to the flash point.

"Cooking oils, especially soybean oil and canola oil, are known to have a propensity to self-heat under certain circumstances," Schuster said.
us_WI  public  fire  response  oils 
6 weeks ago by dchas
La Crosse Fire Department responds to 85,000-pound liquid oxygen tank leak
Several people were evacuated after a chemical leak at Airgas on Saturday night.

According to a press release, the call came in at 11:17 p.m. and upon arrival, crews noticed a white cloud coming from the back of the building. It was determined an 85,000-pound liquid oxygen tank had a leak.

Two apartments nearby were evacuated for about 30 minutes for safety concerns. No one was injured in the incident.

The cause of the leak was determined to be an activated pressure relief valve.
us_WI  industrial  release  response  liquid_oxygen 
6 weeks ago by dchas
Possible mixing of chemicals causes Great Lakes Cheese to evacuate
LA CROSSE, Wis. — The La Crosse Fire Department responded to a call at Great Lakes Cheese for a chemical incident on Wednesday afternoon.

Crews responded to a pull activation fire alarm at Great Lakes Cheese on Enterprise Ave. in La Crosse. When they arrived, employees were evacuating the building. Tri-State Ambulance evaluated two individuals on scene who reported symptoms associated with a chemical released. Hazmat team members made entry to investigate the release and found no active chemical reaction or chemical related problem. No one was hospitalized, and no other damage was reported.

The fire department says an employee may have mixed the wrong chemicals during a routine maintenance and cleaning procedure. La Crosse Police and the Great Lakes Cheese plant safety managers assisted.
us_WI  industrial  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
7 weeks ago by dchas
Employees evacuate after a chemical release at a local business
LA CROSSE, Wisc. (WKBT) - The La Crosse Fire Department responded on Wednesday night to reports of an unidentified chemical release at a business.

The call came in shortly after 6 pm at Great Lakes Cheese in the La Crosse Industrial Park on the North side. When crews got there, employees were evacuating the building.

Fire investigators say a chemical release happened after two incompatible chemicals were mixed.

One employee was originally missing but was later found inside the building with no injuries. Two people said they felt symptoms from the chemical release, but did not need to be taken to the hospital.
us_WI  industrial  release  response  unknown_chemical 
7 weeks ago by dchas
Democrats, Republicans issue plans to curb firefighting foam contamination
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Democrats and Republicans each have released plans on curbing chemical contamination in Wisconsin.

On May 23, Gov. Tony Evers and state Democrats visited Green Bay to introduce the party's PFAS standards legislation.

It's called the CLEAR (Chemical Level Enforcement and Remediation Act). It targets PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances. These are chemicals found in household products. They're also found in firefighting foams.

"It would once again make Wisconsin an environmental leader when it comes to PFAS, again relying on science," Evers says. "The bill addresses PFA contamination -- groundwater, drinking water, surface water, air, and water quality -- throughout the State of Wisconsin."

Action 2 News has been covering the contamination of wells in the Town of Peshtigo from firefighter foam manufactured at the nearby Tyco Fire Protection Products. Contaminates were found in drinking water.
us_WI  public  release  environmental  other_chemical 
may 2019 by dchas
Likely accidental chemical mixture leads to Stevens Point shelter evacuation // WJFW TV-12, WJFWDT 12.1 and Newswatch 12
STEVENS POINT - Emergency calls for help with "poison gas" brought police, firefighters, and paramedics out to a homeless shelter in Stevens Point early Sunday morning.  Crews quickly determined there was no danger.

According to our partners at the Point/Plover Metro Wire, police were called to the Salvation Army Hope Center on Briggs Street -- just west of UW-Stevens Point -- around 6:20 a.m.  People at the shelter were already evacuating the building.

Stevens Point Fire Department Lt. Mark Schoeberle said someone accidentally mixed bleach with floor cleaner, which produced a cloud of smoke. Someone diluted the mixture with water before crews arrived, eliminating any hazards.

Firefighters used air quality meters to check the building for any risks.

Emergency crews stayed on scene for about 35 minutes. There were no injuries.
us_WI  public  release  response  cleaners 
may 2019 by dchas
Two years in prison for man who kept chemicals, bomb-making materials in apartment
A man whose Far West Side Madison apartment became a hazardous materials site after police and firefighters last year found it filled with chemical experiments and two small improvised explosives was sentenced Monday to two years in prison.

Dane County Circuit Judge Susan Crawford told Brian Campbell, 31, now of Carol Stream, Illinois, that while prosecutors presented no evidence to support their claim that Campbell was plotting a bomb attack on a public building, Campbell had offered no credible explanation for his experiments that endangered people in his apartment building on Timber Lake Trail.

“What we don’t know is why,” Crawford said. “Why was he teaching himself to isolate chemicals used in improvised explosives? We don’t know that. But we know that these activities placed his neighbors at great risk.”

In a pre-sentence report, written by a state Department of Corrections agent, Campbell said he simply forgot about safety.

“That’s not an adequate explanation,” Crawford said. It also wasn’t an impulsive activity, she noted, but one that went on for weeks and months and had resulted in a prior order by apartment managers to clean up his apartment or be evicted.
us_WI  public  follow-up  environmental  explosives 
may 2019 by dchas
US Chemical Safety Board urges review of hydrofluoric acid regulations
The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has called on the US Environmental Protection Agency to review its regulation of hydrofluoric acid. One-third of the nation’s 150 petrochemical refineries use HF to produce high-octane gasoline. The CSB’s April 24 statement urges the EPA to reexamine and update a 1993 study to determine the effectiveness of existing risk management program requirements as well as the viability of using inherently safer alkylation technologies in refineries. “In the last 4 years, the CSB has investigated two refinery incidents where an explosion elevated the threat of a release of HF,” CSB interim executive Kristen Kulinowski says. “Refinery workers and surrounding community residents are rightly concerned about the adequacy of risk management for the use of hazardous chemicals like HF.” HF is a highly toxic chemical that can seriously injure or cause death at concentrations as low as 30 ppm, the CSB says. The CSB’s recommendation follows its accident investigations at an ExxonMobil refinery in California and a Husky Energy refinery in Wisconsin. After the California accident, the South Coast Air Quality Management District began examining HF regulations and alternatives. That effort is ongoing, a South Coast AQMD spokesperson says. EPA officials say it is reviewing the CSB’s request.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
april 2019 by dchas
First responders say refinery fire response a success, reflect on lessons learned
As black smoke billowed for miles from the asphalt fire at the Husky Energy refinery in Superior last year, forcing thousands to evacuate, Scott Gordon, a battalion chief for the Superior Fire Department, offered a firm warning during an afternoon news conference: the fire could burn for days.

Hours later at the 7 p.m. news conference, only light smoke rose from the refinery. Gordon declared the fire out.

Extinguishing the April 26, 2018 refinery fire within hours of ignition wouldn't have been possible without prior training and cooperation between the Superior Fire Department, Husky Emergency Response Team and all other responding agencies, Superior Fire Chief Steven Panger said.

"They really need to train together to be able to do that. That's not just something you kind of throw people together for," Panger said. "That fire could have been burning for a couple of days, and to go in there and find an opening to make an offensive attack on that fire and be able to put that out — that was pretty amazing."

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, the federal agency investigating the refinery explosion and fire, highlighted the firefighting response in an October emergency response safety message and held it up as an example of a proper response to an industrial blaze.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
april 2019 by dchas
First Responders: Husky Refinery one of top five calls we never want to hear
SUPERIOR, WI — Those on the front lines of the Husky Energy refinery fire and explosion say it’s an experience they’ll never forget.

Superior Fire and Police, along with Husky’s Emergency response team, were on the front lines, and say preparing, planning and practicing played key roles in the quick response from hundreds of emergency personnel.

For Superior first responders, it was a call like no other.

“I think everyone remembers where they were that day,” said Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger.

“The initial report we got was that there had been an explosion,” said Superior Police Assistant Chief Matt Markon.

Fire and police crews in Superior didn’t hesitate to jump into action after hearing the Husky refinery was up in flames.

“Certainly in our top five calls we never want to hear, just because of the magnitude of it,” said Fire Batallion Chief Scott Gordon.

“Maybe it’s just a first responder mentality that the explosion happens and we go ‘Oh, we’re going to have to deal with that somehow,” said Markon.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
april 2019 by dchas
Science lab explosion on North Side sends chemist to hospital
A beaker in a scientific laboratory on the North Side exploded Tuesday, sending a person to the hospital, according to the Madison Fire Department.

The "isolated" explosion at the 3500 block of Anderson Street near Madison Area Technical College sent a chemist to the hospital with minor injuries.

The chemist was attempting to create a new compound by mixing two chemicals together in a beaker. 

The explosion took place around 12:20 p.m. Tuesday.
us_WI  laboratory  explosion  injury  unknown_chemical 
april 2019 by dchas
Hazmat crew responds to lab explosion in Madison
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- Several crews from the Madison Fire Department, including the Hazardous Materials Incident Team, responded to a lab explosion on Madison's East Side on Tuesday.

According to the Madison Fire Department, they responded to the lab on the 3500 block of Anderson Street around 12:20 p.m. When crews arrived, they learned there was an explosion in one of the lab's hoods.

A Madison Fire Department spokeswoman said one person was injured. As of 1:30 p.m. no one was taken to a hospital.

According to the Madison Fire Department, there is no danger to the public and there is no threat of a chemical or gas leak. Roads in the area were temporarily closed during the initial response.
us_WI  laboratory  explosion  injury  unknown_chemical 
april 2019 by dchas
Husky Energy Discusses Rebuild Efforts at Open House, Residents Voice Concerns
Next Friday will mark a year since fires and an explosion tore through Superior's Husky Refinery. Tuesday night, Twin Ports residents had the chance to learn more about how the company plans to move forward, and also voiced lingering concerns.

Jo Haberman, recalled the incident a year ago.

"Part of my neighborhood, which is Park Point was evacuated. It was close to my apartment and too close for comfort so my granddaughter and I evacuated Duluth and Superior," said Haberman. "She was so terrified, and I was also terrified."

She says lingering concerns for safety brought them out to Husky's open house, as the company presented their rebuilding plans.  

"It's absolutely clear to me that Husky needs to replace Hydrogen Fluoride. They can afford to replace it. It's a public safety issue," said Haberman.

"I'm concerned about the water. I'm concerned about our proximity," said Christina Schleicher, a Twin Ports resident. " If something where to happen what is in place for that."

Monday night, Husky's General Manager said they stand by their decision to continue using the chemical.

"When you look at the gasoline as a product that the refinery really likes to provide for Superior itself, the HF alkylation unit is a vital component of that motor gasoline, so right now we are intending to maintain that operation," said Kollin Schade.

However, he says there will be additional safety measures. Informational booths were set up for that and other improvements they are making.

"We're a learning refinery. We know there are things we can improve on both safety and environmental, and we're going to support those during the rebuild process," Schade added.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
april 2019 by dchas
No injuries in warehouse fire at Millipore Sigma in Sheboygan County
SHEBOYGAN COUNTY — Multiple departments were called out to a warehouse fire at Millipore Sigma near County Highway V and County Highway A in the Town of Wilson in Sheboygan County Sunday, April 14.

It happened just after 1 p.m.

The Town of Wilson fire chief said the fire broke out in a storage facility for production chemicals at the plant. It was under control within 30 minutes of the arrival of fire crews.

There were no reported injuries. Damage was very minimal.

The cause was under investigation, but the fire chief noted there was a single point of origin, and said a “combustible solid” was on fire.
us_WI  industrial  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
april 2019 by dchas
Explosion-damaged Wisconsin refinery will keep using toxic chemical
Husky Energy said it will continue to use hydrogen fluoride at its Superior refinery.

In an announcement posted to its website Wednesday morning, April 3, the Calgary-based oil company said it would continue to use the potentially dangerous chemical in the refining process at its Superior refinery, but would add additional safety features.

The evacuations during the April 26, 2018, explosion and fire were based on hydrogen fluoride release concerns, but no hydrogen fluoride was released during the incident.

Hydrogen fluoride, which is used in the process to create high-octane gasoline, can cause death from an irregular heartbeat or from fluid buildup in the lungs when inhaled at high levels or in combination with skin contact.

In the year since the explosion and fire, Twin Ports residents and local and federal officials have voiced concerns over the refinery’s use of hydrogen fluoride and have urged Husky to use alternative chemicals, like sulfuric acid.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
april 2019 by dchas
Crews burning off propane after underground tank leak in La Crosse
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Crews are using a flaring operation, or burning off propane, after a leak was discovered in an underground tank on La Crosse's south side.

The La Crosse Fire Department was called to the area of 28th St. and Mesa Grande Pl. at approximately 1:00 p.m. Tuesday for an odor of gas coming from an underground propane tank.

Xcel Energy crews reported the leak after a gas surveillance truck detected it during a routine survey.

Some of the first crews on scene also discovered slight gas readings in the basement of a nearby business.
us_WI  transportation  release  response  propane 
march 2019 by dchas
Explosions at Manitowoc home lead to an arrest
MANITOWOC, Wis. — Manitowoc Police have arrested a man after two explosions at a south side home on Thursday.

Police say they were called to investigate explosions on the 900 block of South 29th Street.

ATF, FBI, a hazmat team and others investigated the home, where they report they found military grade explosives.

A 35-year-old man was taken into custody and charges are expected for endangering safety and possession of an explosive.
us_WI  public  explosion  response  explosives  illegal 
march 2019 by dchas
UPDATE: Marshfield apartment building evacuated after household chemical spill
Four people were sent to the hospital to be checked over after a household chemical mishap and evacuation at an apartment building for the elderly in Marshfield Friday night.

Deputy Fire Chief Troy Weiland tells NewsChannel 7 they got a call just after 9pm that there was a strange smell coming from a hallway in the Cedar Rail Apartments on South Cedar Street.

Once crews arrived on the scene, they traced the smell to one apartment. Weiland says one person had spilled an acetone-based product and used bleach to try to clean it up, creating the noxious fumes.

Residents of the three-story building were evacuated to another owned by the same company. Four people, two residents and the first two police officers on the scene were sent to the hospital to be checked over. At least one had burning eyes. Weiland says the checkup by the doctors was mostly precautionary.
us_WI  public  release  injury  acetone  bleach 
february 2019 by dchas
Man convicted in Madison apartment chemical scare
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- An Illinois man who was charged with storing and experimenting with chemicals inside his apartment in Madison was convicted Friday afternoon.

Brian Campbell, 31, was convicted with second-degree recklessly endangering safety, felony possession of improvised explosives and misdemeanor bail jumping.

Campbell forced an evacuation at an apartment building at Timber Lake Village due to a strong chemical odor coming from one of the rooms on Feb. 20, 2018. HazMat crews discovered evidence of experimentation and explosive materials inside.

Campbell will be sentenced on Friday, Feb. 22. The prosecution plans to ask for three years or less in prison for Campbell.
us_WI  public  followup  response  bomb  illegal 
january 2019 by dchas
Contractor sues Husky refinery over blast injuries
A contractor working at the Husky Energy refinery in Superior said the April 26 explosion sent him 15 feet into the air, resulting in severe injuries when he hit the floor, according to a lawsuit filed against the refinery and its owners.

Contractor Taylor Mayr of Houston, Texas argues in a November complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Madison that Husky Energy, Inc. and Superior Refining Company LLC were negligent in operating the refinery, conducted "extra hazardous and/or ultrahazardous and abnormally dangerous activities" and are responsible for over $75,000 in damages to him because the blast left him with "permanent and severe injuries."

Mayr, employed by Evergreen North America Industrial Services and tasked with chemical cleanup as the refinery shut down for maintenance in late April, was working near the fluid catalytic cracking unit, where the explosion occurred as crews worked to shut it down for planned maintenance, according to the compliant.

When the blast occurred shortly after 10 a.m. on April 26, "The initial shock wave caused by the explosion launched (Mayr) fifteen ... plus feet in the air and hurled him to the floor," the complaint states. "As a result (Mayr) suffered severe injuries."
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  injury  unknown_chemical 
january 2019 by dchas
Crews respond to ammonia leak in La Crosse
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The La Crosse Fire Department responded to an ammonia leak early Saturday morning.

It happened at a Graceland Food Processing.

On arrival to the incident, crews entered a large commercial property and verified dangerous ammonia readings in freezer area. Hazmat technicians shut the system down and ventilated remaining ammonia.

No injuries were reported and the system was to be serviced by a professional refrigeration company.
us_WI  industrial  release  response  ammonia 
december 2018 by dchas
Investigators: Hole In Valve Caused Superior Refinery Explosion
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A hole in a valve is likely the source of an explosion at the Husky Energy Refinery in Superior, Wisconsin last spring.

The explosion injured 36 people and led to the evacuation of a large part of the city.

The United States Chemical Safety and Hazard Board shared its findings Wednesday during a Town Hall meeting.

They say erosion created a hole in the slide valve, allowing air to mix with chemicals, which caused the explosion.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  other_chemical 
december 2018 by dchas
Superior, Wis., to hold town meeting on refinery explosion to discuss emergency plans
A town hall meeting this week in Superior, Wis., could shed light on an ongoing federal investigation of the Husky Energy refinery explosion and fire last spring that injured 13 and caused the panicked evacuation of thousands of people.

The evacuation was the first time that many local residents learned of a toxic chemical used at the refinery — hydrogen fluoride — that according to a worst-case scenario written by the Environmental Protection Agency could threaten the lives of 180,000 people in the Twin Ports area if accidentally released.

Almost as soon as the fire was put out, and after emergency officials said no hydrogen fluoride was released, alarmed residents began asking questions about the company’s use of the chemical.

The town hall-style meeting, scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s Yellowjacket Union, will include an update from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazardous Investigation Board on its investigation. A preliminary report from the agency released in August said the blast could have been caused by a worn valve that allowed air to leak and mix with combustible hydrocarbons. The agency’s final report isn’t expected for several months.

The meeting was requested by U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum and Rick Nolan along with U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

Numerous people have called for a ban on hydrogen fluoride at the refinery, including the mayors of Duluth and Superior. An advocacy group formed in the days after the explosion, the Twin Ports Action Alliance, also wants a ban on hydrogen fluoride. The group’s co-founder, Ginger Juel, said she hopes to ask the Chemical Safety Board for more information on emergency preparedness and on how hydrogen fluoride is transported.
us_wi  industrial  follow-up  hydrogen_fluoride  enviromental 
december 2018 by dchas
Madison hazmat team responds after man opens bag of fentanyl
TOWN OF MADISON (WKOW) — Police and fire personnel responded to an apartment in the town of Madison after a man opened a bag of fentanyl.

The Madison Fire Department Hazardous Incident Team responded to the 1900 block of Sherman Avenue Monday afternoon after a report of someone who opened a bag of fentanyl because he was trying to destroy it.

A police sergeant tells 27 News the incident was mostly contained to that person’s apartment and there is no danger to other apartments in the building.
us_WI  public  release  response  fentanyl 
december 2018 by dchas
Chlorine, ammonia odor sends man to hospital; Hazmat team investigates
MADISON, Wis. - One person was taken to the hospital Monday morning after inhaling fumes while working in a community clubhouse on Madison’s south side, according to a release from the Madison Fire Department.

Emergency crews were called around 8:30 a.m. to Highland Manor at 10 Malibur Drive for reports of a noxious odor that caused the custodian to get weak and collapse in one of the bathrooms, officials said.

One person told officials the odor smelled like a mixture of chlorine and ammonia, but the person who collapsed said he was not using both of those chemicals at the same time, according to the release. With the help of a co-worker, the man was able to crawl out of the room and walk to a vehicle, where he waited for emergency crews to arrive.

A co-worker opened some doors to allow fresh air in, so emergency crews were not able to determine what the odor was caused by, officials said. The building was cleared just before 10 a.m.
us_WI  public  release  injury  ammonia  chlorine 
november 2018 by dchas
Crews Respond to Lithium Fire at MilliporeSigma Plant
A lithium fire broke out Tuesday night at the MilliporeSigma plant in Wilson, WI, drawing a response from several fire departments in the area and a hazmat team, local news organizations reported. T

Firefighters were called to the scene at about 9:15 p.m. The cause of the fire remains unknown, but no injuries were reported during the incident, coverage by Fox News affiliate WITI said.

Reports said the facility produces chemicals for consumer electronics, lightbulbs, and personal care products. 
us_WI  industrial  fire  response  unknown_chemical 
november 2018 by dchas
OSHA: Deferred maintenance, skipped procedures led to refinery explosion
SUPERIOR, Wis.—The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the Husky Energy refinery explosion and fire on April 26 that rocked the Duluth-Superior area could have been prevented if the company had maintained its equipment and established safety procedures.

OSHA delivered eight "serious" citations and $83,000 of fines on Tuesday, Oct. 2, to Superior Refining Company LLC, which owns and operates the Superior refinery but does business as Husky Energy.

In a news release, OSHA said the citations were issued "for failing to control the use and release of highly hazardous chemicals after an explosion and fire injured several employees" and that the explosion and fire could have been avoided.

"Ensuring the mechanical integrity of critical equipment used during the refinery shutdown operation could have prevented this incident," said OSHA Eau Claire Area Office Director Mark Hysell in the release, adding that the company was cooperating fully with investigators.

The company has 15 days to contest the citations and fines.

OSHA's citations detail the company's a lack of safety procedures for the fluid catalytic cracking unit, or FCC, where the explosion occurred.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  other_chemical 
october 2018 by dchas
Minnesota lawmakers ask for meeting on refinery explosion
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum has asked the federal Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board to hold a public forum in the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior, Wis., in early fall, citing "serious questions about the safety of U.S. refineries using hydrogen fluoride" in the wake of an explosion and fires at the Husky oil refinery in Superior in April.

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin also signed the letter Wednesday.

The accident on April 26 caused an enormous smoke plume, and forced the evacuation of thousands of people in a zone extending 10 miles south of Superior and three miles to the south and east.

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board is currently investigating the incident. In a preliminary report released in August, investigators say a failed valve caused the initial explosion.

Debris flew about 200 feet, puncturing a large storage tank, spilling more than 15,000 barrels of hot asphalt, which ignited a major subsequent fire.

The debris did not damage a tank about 150 feet away, containing 15,000 pounds of hydrogen fluoride, a highly toxic chemical that's used to make higher-octane gasoline. It's an acid that can cause lung damage when people are exposed to it.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
september 2018 by dchas
Workers File Civil Lawsuit Against Husky Energy
Contract workers are suing Husky Energy in Douglas County Circuit Court for injuries they received in an explosion at the company’s oil refinery this year. The civil lawsuit is separate from a class action lawsuit filed against Husky by Superior residents on Aug. 20.  

The men were working for contractors Evergreen North America and Jamar Contractors as part of a five-week turnaround to conduct maintenance at the facility.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  petroleum 
september 2018 by dchas
Class action complaint filed against Husky Energy
SUPERIOR, Wis. — A class action complaint was filed against Husky Energy and Superior Refining Company in response to the April 26 explosion and fire at their Superior refinery, which prompted the evacuation of most of Superior.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on Aug. 20, Jasen Bruzek, Hope Koplin and Neil Miller argue Husky displayed negligence, nuisance, trespass on land and strict liability — extrahazardous and/or ultrahazardous activity before, during and after the fire and evacuation.

According to the complaint, "Defendants failed to exercise due care in the maintenance and monitoring of the Husky Superior Refinery so as to prevent fires, explosions, and the uncontrolled release of hazardous substance, odors, and wastes into the environment."

The complaint cites the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board's Aug. 2 factual update that found a worn-out valve may allow air to mix with hydrocarbons within the fluid catalytic cracking unit, or FCC, then come in contact with iron sulfide deposits, which can spontaneously ignite if in contact with air. Since the evacuation zone was based on the worst-case scenario — the release of hydrogen fluoride, a highly dangerous chemical used in the refining process — the complaint cites the Center for Public Integrity in claiming that up to 180,000 people could have been killed or injured if the hydrogen fluoride was released.

No hydrogen fluoride was released.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid 
september 2018 by dchas
Over-pressurized chemical container
The Milwaukee Fire Department's hazmat team was called to investigate a possible explosion Saturday morning in the Menomonee River Valley neighborhood after witnesses heard a big boom.

When firefighters arrived at Materion Advanced Chemicals at 13th Street and St. Paul Avenue, they didn't find any evidence of leaking or smoke.

Fire officials said a sealed container with an undisclosed chemical over pressurized and caused the blast.

While it sounded like an explosion, Deputy Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski explained why it actually wasn't one.

"People, when they think explosion, think fireball, smoke, death and mayhem. This mimicked the explosion in that there was outward force, but there was no fire. There was no burning," Lipski said.

Fire officials said at least 15 employees were inside the building when this happened, but none of them were injured.
us_WI  public  explosion  response  unknown_chemical 
september 2018 by dchas
Sauk City building evacuated after employees felt ill
SAUK CITY, Wis. - Sauk City officials were called to the 700 block on Carolina Street Friday after receiving a report that multiple employees in a building there felt ill, according to a news release from the Volunteer Fire Department. 

When firefighters arrived around 11 a.m., employees were already evacuating the building. Firefighters and fire personnel evaluated the air quality and did not find any level of carbon monoxide or other hazardous gases in the building. 

Sauk Prairie EMS examined 11 employees who were complaining of headaches. All of the employees were treated at the scene. 
us_WI  public  release  response  carbon_monoxide 
august 2018 by dchas
Chemical spill forces closure of Sauk Avenue in Baraboo
Baraboo firefighters and an ambulance crew responded at 1:46 p.m. Friday to a chemical spill in the 1200 block of Sauk Avenue.

Fire Chief Kevin Stieve said a 5-gallon drum of hydrochloric acid spilled but was contained in the semi trailer that was hauling it. Portage Fire Department’s hazardous materials team was called to mitigate and investigate.

The road was closed to traffic for more than two hours during the response and was reopened at 4:20 p.m. The area of Sauk Avenue affected includes several manufacturing companies.
us_WI  transportation  release  response  hydrochloric_acid 
august 2018 by dchas
OSHA investigating Wausau chemical lab explosion
After a chemical explosion at a local lab, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking deeper into the matter.

The small explosion and fire happened July 31 during a chemical process being done in a laboratory at Dietary Pros Inc., a company on Wausau's west side that makes dietary supplements, according to the Wausau Fire Department.

A worker suffered third-degree burns in addition to a broken hip from the explosion.

OSHA has six months to complete the inspection, issue citations and propose penalties due to violations of safety and health regulations.
us_wi  laboratory  explosion  followup  unknown_chemical 
august 2018 by dchas
EPA silent on case against chemical barrel plants months after violations
Months after issuing violations against a chain of industrial barrel refurbishing plants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said nothing publicly about the case. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is asking why.

Citing a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation that documented danger in the plants to workers and residents in surrounding neighborhoods, Baldwin (D-Wis.) sent a letter to the EPA this week calling for action.

"While multiple agencies have found dozens of violations at the site, the EPA has not completed its investigation or provided the public confidence that the illegal practices have ended," Baldwin wrote in a letter Monday to EPA Acting Secretary Andrew Wheeler and Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp.

"I am deeply concerned the EPA has not taken swift, substantial action to protect residents by addressing the company's negligence."
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  unknown_chemical 
august 2018 by dchas
Three people treated for chemical exposure in southwest Wisconsin
DARLINGTON, Wis. (KDTH) -- Three workers at a cheese factory in Darlington were treated at a local hospital after being exposed to a chemical at the plant.

The incident happened at around 7:15 a.m. August 1 at Wisconsin Whey Protein located in the 100 block of Christensen Drive.

The employees were exposed after two cleaning solutions were inadvertently mixed and inhaled by the workers.

They were taken to Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County where they were decontaminated.
us_WI  industrial  release  injury  cleaners 
august 2018 by dchas
CSB issues video, factual update of Husky Superior refinery explosion
The U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has released a factual update and video animation of an April 2018 explosion and fire at the Husky Superior refinery in Superior, Wis. The incident occurred in the refinery’s fluid catalytic cracking unit at the start of a maintenance shutdown. A mixture of hydrocarbons and oxygen was released and ignited, leading to an explosion that sent debris 61 meters. Some of the debris punctured a large storage tank containing about 8,000 m3 of asphalt, spilling the hot liquid into the refinery. The asphalt caught fire and burned for nine hours. The fire generated potentially toxic smoke and risked compromising other process equipment containing hazardous chemicals, including hydrofluoric acid, used in the alkylation unit. An evacuation notice was issued covering a 5-km radius around the refinery plus a rectangle extending 16 km south. Overall, 36 people sought medical attention, including 11 refinery and contract workers. In its update, CSB offers several scenarios for what might have caused the incident. The agency expects to issue its final causal determination within 18 months.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  injury  asphalt 
august 2018 by dchas
One worker sent to hospital after explosion, fire in Wausau labo
WAUSAU (WAOW) - An explosion and fire in a Wausau lab Tuesday sent one worker to the hospital and fire investigators identified magnesium as one of the chemicals involved.

The small explosion and fire happened about 11 a.m. during a chemical process being done in a laboratory at Dietary Pros Inc., a company on Wausau's west side that makes dietary supplements, according to the Wausau Fire Department.

Battalion Chief Alan Antolik said smoke was coming from the side of the building when crews arrived. All workers were evacuated.

Fire officials and Wausau police remained on the scene for hours, monitoring air quality, removing some of the products and chemicals and talking to workers.

Investigators say they don't know exactly what went wrong in the laboratory. Magnesium, an abundant mineral in the body, is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products, available as a dietary supplement and present in some medicines, such as antacids and laxatives.
us_WI  laboratory  explosion  injury  magnesium 
august 2018 by dchas
2020 restart expected at Wisconsin refinery after explosion
SUPERIOR, Wis. - A Wisconsin refinery damaged by an explosion and fire earlier this year is not expected to resume operations until 2020.

WDIO-TV reports Canada-based Husky Energy said in its second-quarter earnings statement Thursday that the refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, is not expected to restart for at least 18 to 24 months.

Chief Operating Officer Rob Symonds said in a conference call that an investigation into the late April explosion continues, and that the company plans to use insurance proceeds to rebuild the refinery.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  response  unknown_chemical 
july 2018 by dchas
Husky: Refinery explosion caused $27 million in damage
The explosion and fire at Husky Energy's Superior refinery in April resulted in $27 million in damage and $53 million in expenses, according to the company's second quarter results released Thursday.

Insurance is expected to cover the costs of damage, interruption to business and any third-party liability, the company said.

The April 26 explosion injured 21 people at the plant led to the evacuation of nearly the entire city of Superior. The investigation is ongoing, and company officials said it would take another 18-24 months "to resume normal operations" after the investigation is completed.

"We plan to use the insurance proceeds to rebuild the refinery," Husky COO Rob Symonds said in a Thursday conference call with investors.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  injury  unknown_chemical 
july 2018 by dchas
Chemical mishap forces evacuation of North Shore Golf Club
HARRISON - The pro shop at North Shore Golf Club was evacuated Thursday after two chemicals — chlorine and muriatic acid — inadvertently were mixed together.

One man was taken to a hospital after he inhaled fumes of muriatic acid. The condition of the man was not immediately known.

Authorities responded to the golf club, N8421 N. Shore Road, shortly after 9 a.m. for a medical call.

Chief Deputy Brett Bowe of the Calumet County Sheriff's Office said the pro shop has a 55-gallon barrel of chlorine and a 30-gallon barrel of muriatic acid that are used to treat the water in the golf club's outdoor swimming pool.
us_WI  public  release  injury  chlorine  hydrochloric_acid 
july 2018 by dchas
Johnson Controls unit Tyco expands plan to treat tainted water
A Johnson Controls-owned manufacturer is providing additional water treatment systems to homes and businesses in Marinette, in northeastern Wisconsin, where chemicals used by the company have been found in groundwater and are part of a group of compounds attracting attention nationally for their potential health impacts.

The announcement by Tyco Fire Products to install additional systems comes after the release of a draft federal report in June that showed people exposed to the chemicals face greater health risks to illnesses ranging from liver damage to cancer than previously known. 

Tyco said in a statement that it is offering to pay for, install and maintain the systems in 37 additional homes and businesses where the presence of compounds, known as perfluorinated chemicals, have been detected. The initial details were posted on its website devoted to the groundwater problems on July 5.

That’s a change from efforts last December when the company provided bottled water to properties where a pair of the chemical compounds were found in drinking water but were below a health advisory level from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  water_treatment 
july 2018 by dchas
Husky Ends Air Monitoring In Superior Neighborhoods Following Refinery Fires
Air quality monitoring in Superior neighborhoods that began after a series of fires and explosions in April at the oil refinery in the city has come to an end. However, Husky Energy said monitoring will continue at its facility.

The refinery ended community air monitoring in mid-June, said Husky spokeswoman Kim Guttormson.

"This followed the safe removal of a tower that had been damaged and was being secured," wrote Guttormson in an email. "All community monitoring to that point indicated concentrations below health-based thresholds. If monitoring on-site indicates there is a concern that could extend beyond the refinery fence line, community monitoring would be re-initiated."

Husky had been monitoring the air for volatile organic chemicals, and things like carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental 
july 2018 by dchas
Chemical spill forces Wisconsin hospital to evacuate
Neillsville, Wis.-based Memorial Medical Center evacuated patients, staff and visitors for more than 1 hour June 22 due to a strong chemical smell, according to a WSAU report.

Several agencies were called to the medical center around 6:00 p.m. June 22. Officials determined the smell was a spilled cleaning solution that spread through the hospital's ventilation system.

The Neillsville Fire Department used ventilation fans to rid the smell. Patients, staff and visitors were allowed back into their rooms at 7:30 p.m. June 22.

No injuries were reported.
us_WI  public  release  response  cleaners 
june 2018 by dchas
Wisconsin manufacturer finds groundwater pollution at plant
MARINETTE, Wis. — A manufacturer in northeastern Wisconsin has discovered new evidence of groundwater pollution near Lake Michigan involving a chemical that has raised national health concerns.

Tyco Fire Products said this month that it discovered perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, in well samples at its manufacturing plant in Marinette. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had directed Tyco to test for PFCs at the wells, which are part of a separate cleanup of arsenic.

Tyco produces specialized firefighting foams that can extinguish gas and oil fires. PFCs are used in products like the firefighting foam and have been linked with increasing cancer risks and development problems in fetuses, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported .

Tyco, which is a unit of Johnson Controls International, said it's investigating the source and extent of the groundwater contamination by testing soil, ditches and surface water.
us_WI  public  discovery  environmental  other_chemical 
june 2018 by dchas
Superior, Wis., residents unsettled a month after refinery explosion, fire
SUPERIOR, WIS. – It’s usually the summer practice of Mary McConnell to donate some of her vegetable crops to neighbors or sell a portion at the local farmers market to pay for gardening supplies.

This year, after an explosion and fire at the Husky Energy oil refinery north of her house, she’s nervous that toxic fallout from the fire contaminated the soil she’s carefully tended for years at the homestead she shares with her husband.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the city of Superior have said there’s no pollution threat, but McConnell said she could smell the fire that day, saw a plume of oily, black smoke billowing in the sky above her home, and has heard warnings from a local chemistry professor not to plant crops this year.

“It’s very confusing for the people here who are really, really worried,” she said.

A month after the April 26 explosion and fire, locals are getting back to their lives, but with new questions about the accident and its aftermath.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  petroleum 
may 2018 by dchas
‘It’s all over the city:’ 3 police officers treated in 2 separate incidents for possible fentanyl exposure
GREENDALE -- Three officers were treated for possible exposure to a deadly drug in two separate incidents. Investigators believe they may have been exposed to fentanyl.

Both incident happened Friday, May 25. Two Greendale officers and a Milwaukee police officer were treated with Narcan.

Fentanyl is a potent opiate with deadly consequences.

"You get that on your skin and that could be deadly," said Lt. Darin Peterburs, with the Milwaukee Fire Department.

It doesn't take a lot to do damage. An amount as tiny as a grain of salt can kill a person.
us_WI  public  release  response  clandestine_lab 
may 2018 by dchas
Superior Officials: Refinery Incident Highlights Need To Upgrade Hazmat Response
Superior officials say they’d like the state to upgrade their hazmat team designation in order to access funding and resources to respond to hazardous materials in the wake of explosions and fires at the Husky Energy oil refinery.

In the last decade, Wisconsin conducted a review of the state’s hazardous materials response, which created a tiered system of teams with various levels of capabilities. Previously, the state had eight regional response teams. Now, Wisconsin has 21 hazmat teams that fall under either a Type I, II or III designation for response. Despite the change, Superior officials say they often have to be self-sufficient in terms of resources.

"We're a long way from the next hazmat team, for instance," said Superior Fire Department Chief Steve Panger. "I think the closest ... would be a level one team (that's) in Eau Claire. The deployment for those resources are sometimes several hours away."

Superior has a Type II hazmat team, which means it’s capable of responding to unknown chemical releases. Superior Mayor Jim Paine said the Twin Ports have enough hazardous materials to warrant a Type I designation.

"We deserve to be able to respond to those more effectively than waiting for a team to respond from Eau Claire," said Paine. "We’ve had resources at that level before. I think the state should commit to making sure that we can meet some of the very serious potential risks that exist in this community."
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  response  petroleum 
may 2018 by dchas
After refinery explosion, Duluth-Superior mayors call for safety change – Twin Cities
SUPERIOR, Wis. — Superior Mayor Jim Paine and Duluth Mayor Emily Larson are calling on the Husky Energy refinery in Superior to stop using hydrogen fluoride at the site after Thursday’s explosion and fire burned within 200 feet of the tank containing the dangerous chemical.

The move comes a day after Paine told Forum News Service that he needed more time to learn about hydrogen fluoride and the refinery process before taking a position on the issue.

In a news release Tuesday, Paine said he met with Rob Peabody, president and CEO of Husky Energy, and Chief Operating Officer Rob Symonds, and urged them to stop using hydrogen fluoride, citing concerns from the community.

The Husky Energy refinery in Superior, Wis. burns as seen in this aerial photo taken Thursday afternoon, April 26, 2018. (Bob King / Duluth News Tribune)
“I asked them to discontinue its use and convert to a safer chemical process and to report back to me on any and all cost and infrastructure challenges that might prevent them from doing so,” Paine wrote.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  response  hydrofluoric_acid 
may 2018 by dchas
Chemical raises concerns in wake of Superior refinery explosion, fire
Environmental monitoring is ongoing after an explosion and series of fires at Husky Energy's oil refinery in Superior, Wis., prompted an evacuation order last Thursday. 

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the company continue to monitor air and water quality around the refinery. So far, monitoring since Thursday has not shown elevated levels of hazardous chemicals associated with the incident. But as the community recovers, questions are mounting over the refinery's use of hydrogen fluoride, a highly toxic chemical. 

The hazardous chemical could have posed devastating health impacts for the port community of 27,000 had its tank been breached. However, Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger said the tank with hydrogen fluoride had special water systems around it that were immediately activated when the explosion occurred.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid  petroleum  toxics 
may 2018 by dchas
Crash, oil spill prompts closure of Wauwatosa grocery store
A Monday afternoon oil spill behind the Metcalfe's Market on State Street in Wauwatosa prompted officials to close the store to customers.

A We Energies official said a vehicle accidentally backed into a transformer behind the store at about 2 p.m., causing an oil leak.

We Energies crews wearing protective clothing were seen behind the store, trying to clean up the spill. There was no immediate word as to how much oil spilled, but a spokesperson for the energy company said "it's a quite a bit of oil."

The crash knocked out power to about 300 customers and the store, prompting the closure. Employees have covered perishable items to keep them cold.
us_WI  public  release  response  oils 
may 2018 by dchas
Didion Milling explosion caused by combustible dust
MADISON - The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a Factual Investigative Update into the fatal May 31, 2017, combustible dust explosions at the Didion Milling facility in Cambria, Wisconsin. The explosions killed five of the 19 employees working at the facility on the night of the incident. The other 14 were injured.

Officials with the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board held a news conference on April 30 to discuss preliminary findings from their investigation into the deadly blast.

The explosion occurred in Didion’s “dry corn milling” facility, where raw corn is processed to create a variety of corn products. The dry corn milling process — particularly the acts of grinding and separating individual kernels of corn into distinct components — produces corn dust.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  death  dust 
may 2018 by dchas
Air, Water Monitoring Continues After Superior Refinery Explosion, Fires
Environmental monitoring is continuing Sunday after an explosion and series of fires at Husky Energy's oil refinery caused a temporary evacuation last Thursday.
Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the company continue to monitor air and water quality around the refinery. So far, there appear to be no health concerns associated with the incident. As the community recovers, questions are mounting over the refinery’s use of hydrogen fluoride, a highly toxic chemical. 

The hazardous chemical could have posed devastating health impacts for the port community of 27,000. However, Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger said the tank with hydrogen fluoride had special water systems around it that were immediately activated when the explosion occurred.
"Obviously, once we had a fire, we were concentrating on that area to make sure that didn't get compromised," said Panger.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  environmental  hydrofluoric_acid  petroleum  toxics 
april 2018 by dchas
DNR: White foamy substance on Lake Winnebago is decaying algae
OSHKOSH - Environmental officials said a chemical released into a Lake Winnebago tributary following a fire Monday is not causing fish to die and is not a public health threat.

The Oshkosh Fire Department responded to a fire Monday evening at A.P. Nonweiler, a paint and industrial coatings maker at 3321 County A. The sprinkler system inside the plant caused a chemical used to whiten paint — titanium dioxide — to be released into a stream that feeds into Lake Winnebago.

"We're getting slammed with phone calls because people are concerned about this foamy, frothy white stuff," said Rick Joslin, spills coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Northeast Region.
us_WI  industrial  fire  environmental  paints  titanium 
april 2018 by dchas
Pool mishap leads to evacuation at Washington High School
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Everyone is okay after a hazmat scare prompted the evacuation of Washington High School in Milwaukee.

Students were sent out to fields along Sherman Boulevard after someone put the wrong chemical in the school’s swimming pool.

The Fire Department was called to the school.

CBS 58 has no word of anyone getting sick and students returned to class before 12:00 p.m. Monday.
us_WI  education  release  response  pool_chemicals 
april 2018 by dchas
Man killed in apartment 'explosives laboratory'
iStock/Thinkstock(BEAVER DAM, Wis.) — A Wisconsin man blew himself up inside his apartment, which was allegedly loaded with white supremacist literature, weapons, explosives and highly volatile chemicals.

Investigators say Benjamin Morrow, 28, was found lifeless underneath his electric kitchen stove inside his unit at Village Glen Apartments in Beaver Dam last month. They also pulled from the rubble white supremacist literature, long guns and pistols, ammo, a large capacity magazine, and explosives, according to an unsealed warrant according to a report in ABC News station WISN.

It’s alleged that Morrow also hoarded 13 medium-sized jars of traicetone triperoxide or “TATP explosive material” in in the fridge inside the kitchen, which the warrant claimed doubled as an “explosives laboratory,” according to Wisconsin crime investigator Kevin Heimerl’s warrant application.

The contents of Morrow’s unit were considered to be so “highly volatile” that officials decided to destroy the entire 16-unit structure in a controlled fire.
us_WI  laboratory  explosion  death  explosives 
april 2018 by dchas
Wisconsin Firefighters Burn Apartment Building Due to Volatile Chemicals
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (AP) — Bomb technicians from the FBI conducting a final sweep of the apartment building where a fatal explosion occurred last week were able to retrieve some important items for tenants who were not allowed to collect personal belongings.
The technicians were sweeping the building for ammunitions and hazardous materials prior to Thursday's controlled burn of the building. Because of the volatility of the chemicals inside the building, residents had to leave behind family heirlooms, important papers, jewelry and other belongings.
The city said Thursday the bomb technicians were able to grab some important property on behalf of the tenants.
Authorities set a controlled fire Thursday to burn the chemicals that could not be removed because of their volatility. The explosion March 5 killed one tenant, 28-year-old Benjamin Morrow, who police believe was making bombs.
us_WI  public  follow-up  environmental  bomb 
march 2018 by dchas
Beaver Dam blast building to be burned
A Beaver Dam apartment building is set to be deliberately burned later this week. A man was killed in a explosion, one week ago in Building 109 at the Village Glen apartment complex. The FBI did a controlled explosion last Wednesday, and Mayor Rebecca Glewen on Sunday confirmed there was another explosion last Thursday.

“There’s too many unknowns,” Glewen said, including what specific chemicals led to the explosion, and if there’s a connection to a chemical filled apartment discovered on Madison’s west side three weeks ago.

“We have on information connecting those at this time,” she said. “That’s part of the investigation that is ongoing.”

Residents of building 109 will not be allowed back in prior to the burn on Wednesday. “It was deemed just not safe for anyone to go in,” Glewen said.

The burn is set for 10:00 a.m. Wednesday. Precautions will be taken to save other parts of the complex, including a barrier to be placed in between Building 109 and neighboring Building #113.
us_wi  public  explosion  followup  unknown_chemical 
march 2018 by dchas
One person killed in explosion at Beaver Dam apartment complex
Beaver Dam police and the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office are investigating an explosion at an apartment complex Monday that killed one person and forced the evacuation of nearby residents.

The explosion occurred at 109 Knaup Drive on the north side of Beaver Dam about 1 p.m., according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

Police Chief John Kreuziger told the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen that the blast "had an unknown chemical origin."

Law enforcement agencies determined there could still be materials present that posed a danger and ordered the evacuation of several nearby apartment buildings.

Residents were advised to report to the Watermark community center, 209 S. Center St., until arrangements for temporary lodging could be made.

The explosion blew out the windows of Apt. 11 in the complex, the Daily Citizen reported.
us_wi  explosion  public  death  unknown_chemical 
march 2018 by dchas
Chemical incident at AMPI plant sends five workers to hospital
CHIPPEWA FALLS — The mixing of chemicals caused several workers to become ill early Thursday morning at the Associated Milk Producers Inc. plant in Jim Falls.

Dennis Brown, Chippewa County emergency management director, said the incident at the plant, located at 14193 Highway S, was reported at 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

“Five workers were transported to area hospitals with respiratory problems,” Brown said. “It was reportedly due to a mixture of a couple of concentrated cleaning products – one was caustic, a base, and the other was an acid.”

Sarah Schmidt, AMPI vice president of public affairs at the corporate headquarters in New Ulm, Minn., said 24 workers were in the plant at the time; during the day, there are about 75 employees.

“Employees detected the presence of gas,” Schmidt said. “Four (of the workers transported to hospitals) were immediately released, and one was admitted.”
us_WI  industrial  release  injury  unknown_chemical 
february 2018 by dchas
Repurposed steel drums hazardous at home, in workplace
They’re often presumed to be safe because they’re empty, but steel drums with only a small amount of flammable residue or vapor inside have exploded, injuring and killing scores of people, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found.  

Here's a sampling of accidents, including ones at homes and businesses, over the past 10 years. 

Nov. 21: Two people in Georgetown, S.C., were injured when a 55-gallon drum they were working on exploded. Old oil residue sparked by a cutting tool was the cause, The Sun News in Myrtle Beach reported.

Sept 28: Three people in Rockland, Maine, were injured when the 55-gallon drum they were using for a work stand caught fire from the sparks of a grinding tool and exploded.

The drum had once contained acetone, but the workers thought it was vented enough to be safe, said Rockland Fire Chief Chris Whytock. One of the three suffered third-degree burns.
us_WI  public  discovery  environmental  flammables 
december 2017 by dchas
Didion plans for new building in Cambria, no word on OSHA fines or pending investigations
CAMBRIA — Didion Milling is getting ready to pour cement foundations for a new building as they respond to $1.8 million in OSHA fines that resulted from an investigation into the conditions that led to the fatal explosion and fire that killed and injured several employees on May 31.

Late Friday afternoon, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed that Didion Milling is disputing citations brought against the company in November, though in public appearances, company leaders are focused on new development.

On Nov. 17, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the results of that investigation, listing examples of both serious and willful worker safety violations, with penalties totaling $1.8 million. A serious violation is one which causes serious injury or death, while a willful violation one in which an employer “either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.”

Following the announcement, the company had 15 working days to contest the results. Didion Milling’s spokesperson did not respond to inquiries Friday about the company’s response.

Company President Riley Didion gave an update to the Cambria Village Board Monday evening on the state of the company six months after the late-night explosion.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  death  unknown_chemical 
december 2017 by dchas
Safety first!
One technique that I discovered, however, made any discussion about safety come alive. We would go around the class and every student would relate some incident that they had experienced where they had gotten hurt or injured. Everyone had a story, usually multiple stories.  It got to be almost a competition. Virtually every student could tell of  a personal accident, pratfall, near miss, embarrassing mishap, or catastrophe that had happened to them.  Not all of the students lived on farms, but that didn’t matter-they all had stories to tell. The students were riveted by their classmates’ experiences, and so was I. We were all survivors of some kind of accident.  
With the storytelling session as an introduction, we then talked about why the students’ accidents had happened. Sometimes things just happened, so-called freak accidents, but usually there were underlying factors that we could identify. Maybe the lighting was poor and a trip or a barked shin was the result. Often hurrying was the culprit. Taking shortcuts, trying to multitask, being mentally distracted can all lead to problems. By deconstructing their past accidents, hopefully the students became more aware of everyday hazards and they became safer.
us_WI  public  discovery  environmental 
december 2017 by dchas
Chemicals combined accidentally sicken east side resident, officials say
MADISON, Wis. - An east side resident was displaced for a couple of nights after she got sick when two chemicals were accidentally mixed together during repair work at her home, officials said.

The Elmside Boulevard resident became ill and her cats unusually aggressive following repair work done in her home Wednesday, according to a release.

Officials said her illness and the cats’ behavior were linked to a mix of chemicals in the basement.

The woman’s water heater's pilot light also went out during the project. According to a plumber, the pilot light went out due to a safety feature that turns off the pilot light if its sensor detects something potentially dangerous in the air, according to the release.

The repair work, which took place two days before the fire department was called to the woman’s house, focused on sealing cracks in the basement floor and wall, officials said. Firefighters responded after workers said there was an odor in the home that needed to be monitored and investigated.

Firefighters noticed the odor, but air monitors showed normal oxygen levels, no carbon monoxide and no indication of a natural gas leak, according to the release.

The homeowner contacted the company that was doing the repair work and determined two chemicals were accidentally mixed together, officials said. HazMat crews determined the chemicals were not explosive, but are known to give off a strong odor and could be carcinogenic. 
us_WI  public  release  response  unknown_chemical 
november 2017 by dchas
U.S. Department of Labor Proposes Over $1.8 Million in Fines Against a Wisconsin Corn Milling Facility After Fatal Grain Dust Explosion
CAMBRIA, WI – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $1,837,861 in fines against Didion Milling Inc. following a May 31, 2017, explosion that killed five workers and injured 12 others, including a 21-year-old employee who suffered a double leg amputation after being crushed by a railcar.

OSHA found that the explosion likely resulted from Didion’s failures to correct the leakage and accumulation of highly combustible grain dust throughout the facility and to properly maintain equipment to control ignition sources. OSHA cited Didion’s Cambria facility with 14 willful – including eight willful per-instance egregious– and five serious citations, most involving fire and explosion hazards. The company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“Didion Milling could have prevented this tragedy if it had addressed hazards that are well-known in this industry,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Ken Nishiyama Atha, in Chicago. “Instead, their disregard for the law led to an explosion that claimed the lives of workers, and heartbreak for their families and the community.”

The egregious willful citations were issued for violating OSHA’s Grain Handling standard by failing to perform required maintenance on operating equipment and implementing a housekeeping program to control dust accumulations. Willful citations were issued for failure to shut down ignition sources, prevent static electricity discharge, provide adequate personal protective equipment to employees, correct malfunctioning dust collection systems, maintain equipment safety controls, and have an emergency alarm system. Serious citations addressed hazards associated with fires and explosions, and the lack of employee training.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  death  dust 
november 2017 by dchas
Chemical spill at UW Hospital; nobody injured, Madison Fire Department says
A small chemical spill at UW Hospital Tuesday night brought out the hazardous incident team of the Madison Fire Department, with nobody injured in the spill.

The spill of xylene happened at about 7:30 p.m. at the hospital, 1675 Highland Ave.

Xylene is a solvent and cleaning agent, and also is used as a paint thinner. About five gallons of xylene was spilled.

Engine 9 was sent to the incident at first, and after meeting with hospital staff and looking at the situation, the hazardous incident team was asked to respond.

"HIT members, wearing protective clothing and air packs, used absorbent materials to clean the spill," said MFD spokesman Eric Dahl. "The material was put into a disposal cotainer for pickup by a licensed contractor."
us_WI  public  release  response  xylene 
november 2017 by dchas
Nobody injured in Covance Lab fire, Madison Fire Department says
A fire in a laboratory hood system brought Madison firefighters and the hazardous materials team to a North Side company Sunday evening, with nobody injured in the blaze.

The fire was reported at about 6:35 p.m. at Covance Laboratories, 3301 Kinsman Boulevard, the Madison Fire Department said.

"It is believed a spark from within a work station ignited some flammable chemicals, causing a chain reaction that results in a fire large enough to trigger the lab's automatic fire sprinkler system," said MFD spokeswoman Cynthia Schuster.

A security guard also used a fire extinguisher on the fire, which was extinguished before firefighters arrived.

No damage estimate was given.

"The hazardous incident team also responded to the lab to further investigate the scene, and confirmed there were no chemical hazards remaining," Schuster said.
us_wi  laboratory  fire  response  flammable 
october 2017 by dchas
Chemical release sickens workers at Waunakee recycling plant
An unknown white substance released from recycled material at a Waunakee recycling company sickened 13 workers, with officials not knowing what the substance was.

The incident happened around 11:50 p.m. at the Advanced Disposal site on Raemisch Road, the Madison Fire Department said.

The department's hazardous incident team was called to assist Waunakee EMS after multiple people reported getting sick when the white substance was released while materials were being sorted.

Monitors used by the haz-mat team didn't pick up any type of material to determine what had been released, and there was none of the substance on any clothing that the affected workers were wearing, the Fire Department said.

"Surveillance video was reviewed and it was evident that whatever substance might have been in the sorting line had been processed and packed for transport," said MFD spokeswoman Cynthia Schuster.
us_WI  industrial  release  injury  waste 
october 2017 by dchas
Chemical reaction injures one in laboratory incident, fire department says
Two buildings on Madison's West Side were evacuated and one person was injured Thursday when a mixture of two chemicals created a hazardous reaction, the Madison Fire Department said.

Nitric acid combined with an unknown chemical in a container in a laboratory at 601 Science Drive around 1 p.m., and the reaction injured a person, who was then transported to a local hospital, fire department spokeswoman Cynthia Schuster said. 

All occupants of both 601 and 603 Science Drive evacuated, Schuster said. They buildings reopened around 2:20 p.m. after the reaction was stabilized and other lab containers were secured.

The fire department's hazardous incident team investigated the laboratory, Schuster said. 
us_WI  laboratory  explosion  injury  unknown_chemical  nitric_acid 
october 2017 by dchas
Chemical spill closes highway in Winnebago Co. on Friday
WINNEBAGO CO. Wis. (WBAY) -- A chemical spill is to blame for an hours long road closure in Winnebago County on Friday.

According to the Winnebago County Sheriff's office, 250 gallons of sodium hydroxide fell off of a truck on Highway 44 near the intersection of Claireville Road.

The spill was reported by a passerby around 2:40 p.m. Friday.

Authorities say Highway 44 between Claireville Road and Highway 91 were closed for about 10 and a half hours while crews cleaned up the spill.

The Hazmat team and an environmental services company were called to help clean up the spill.
us_WI  transportation  release  response  sodium_hydroxide 
september 2017 by dchas
Tests for harmful chemicals to be conducted on Thomas Street
WAUSAU - The city has commissioned testing for potentially lethal chemical compounds that lie beneath the surface of Thomas Street before an ongoing road project moves farther east.

Mayor Robert Mielke ordered the testing to find out if the second phase of the street's reconstruction will stir up chemicals that were released into the soil and groundwater in the 1980s by Crestline Windows. Crestline had operated near the 3M plant at the time. Most buildings were torn down in the 1990s, according to Wausau Daily Herald archives.

The compound in question, pentachlorophenol or "Penta," is a preservative that was used by Crestline to treat the wood used in its windows and doors, according to documents detailing the use of the chemical. The documents also note that dioxins, which are known to be carcinogens, may be present. The use of Penta was stopped in 1986 at Crestline. 
us_WI  public  discovery  environmental  other_chemical 
august 2017 by dchas
Appvion evacuated after chemical leak
APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) -- A chemical leak at Appvion in Appleton prompts an evacuation and shut down Wisconsin Avenue for a few hours Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Appleton Fire Department, crews responded to the paper plant around 2 p.m. after a report of a sodium hydroxide leak in the basement.

Fire officials say workers had contained the leak to the building and the fire department HazMat team helped dilute the chemical. The leak started because a hose broke.

Sodium hydroxide can severely irritate skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.

Crews were on scene for about three hours.
us_wi  industrial  release  response  sodium_hydroxide 
august 2017 by dchas
2 treated after chemical spill at Dynamic Recycling in Onalaska
Two employees were treated after being exposed to ammonium hydroxide Thursday at Dynamic Recycling in the town of Onalaska.

A small amount of the liquid chemical was spilled or released during the recycling process, exposing the employees to toxic fumes about 8 a.m., according to the La Crosse Fire Department, which assisted the Holmen Area Fire Department.

Employees were evacuated. One person was treated for respiratory distress and the other for evaluation.

The chemicals were removed from the building, which was ventilated.

The company said it does not accept hazardous substances, but that a small amount of ammonia escaped from a container brought to the facility. The company is investigating.
us_wi  industrial  release  injury  ammonium_hydroxide 
august 2017 by dchas
Chemical spill in UW-Madison building sends 1 to hospital
MADISON, Wis. - One person was taken to the hospital Monday afternoon after a chemical spill on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, officials said.

Madison fire crews responded at 1:36 p.m. to the Animal Sciences building on Observatory Drive, the fire department said.

As the crew was led to a 10th-floor laboratory where the spill occurred, an EMT stayed outside with the patient to begin medical evaluation until paramedics arrived. The patient was experiencing eye irritation after a bottle containing chloroform/methanol was dropped on the floor, the report said. 

The lab manager assured firefighters that the scene was no longer hazardous, but the crew proceeded to the lab donning personal protection equipment as a precaution, according to the report. Among the shards of broken glass, the crew found a crystalline residue left behind by the chemicals, which had already evaporated.

Two UW chemical safety specialists quickly arrived to the lab to take over cleanup duties. They offered further assurance that there was no danger to occupants.

Firefighters retrieved the patient’s belongings and took the person to the hospital. The MFD Hazardous Incident Team was briefed on the incident, but was not activated.
us_WI  laboratory  release  injury  methanol  chloroform 
august 2017 by dchas
Marinette pool to reopen Sunday after chlorine gas leak
MARINETTE (WLUK) -- A Marinette pool is set to reopen Sunday after nearly two dozen people were treated for respiratory problems caused by chlorine gas Friday evening.
An expert was brought in to test the chlorine levels and machinery Saturday morning at Marinette Civic Center pool.
Marinette recreation director, Kent Kostelecky described it as a one in a million occurrence. He says a power surge caused the pool to stop circulating water while the chemical feeder continued to add chlorine, resulting in too much of the chemical.
"When the pool was restarted, those chemicals sitting in the empty pipes created a chlorine gas. It was immediately put in the pool and that's what caused the reaction to everybody that was in there," Kostelecky said.
us_WI  public  release  injury  chlorine 
july 2017 by dchas
23 sickened by chlorine leak
MARINETTE — Nearly two dozen people were treated for breathing problems following an apparent pool chemical overload Friday night at the Marinette Civic Center.
The pool was having one of its Friday night summer pool party theme events. This session was called “Under the Sea.”
Marinette Assistant Fire Chief Steve Campbell said the call came in at about 7:30 p.m. It came from an unidentified caller to the 911/Dispatch Center. Campbell said the pool circulating system was restarted after a power surge shut it down. After the restart, too much chlorine was released into the pool.
“People started exiting the water and were coughing,” he said. “When the lead engine arrived on scene, children were coming out here (in the lobby) and I did (see) a lot of children coughing. We immediately started triage.”
Campbell said shortly after firefighters’ arrival, the HAZMAT incident was finished and the focus was on treating the children. He said 23 people were transported and about 15 of those were children.
“They were having a respiratory affect from the chlorine gas,” Campbell said. “They were having tightening of the chest and shortness of breath. In time, patients were already getting better while on scene. They were further evaluated at the hospital.”
us_WI  public  release  injury  pool_chemicals 
july 2017 by dchas
Demolition starts on deadly Cambria corn mill explosion site
Demolition began Monday at a corn mill plant that exploded, killing five employees.

The Didion Milling company says demolition could take at least a week as crews have to take the building down piece by piece.

Once demolition is complete, the company's president says they will first focus on resuming ethanol production and then they will rebuild.

"It's best for everyone involved if that just comes down and you start clean," said Riley Didion, the president of the company.

The explosion took place May 31 but the cause is still being investigated. OSHA and the Chemical Safety Board are on-site compiling interviews and reviewing data. They have six months to complete the investigation.

Five employees died and several others were injured.

Those killed were Carlos Nunez, Angel Reyes, Robert Goodenow, Pawel Tordoff and Duelle Block.
us_WI  industrial  follow-up  death  ethanol 
july 2017 by dchas
People allowed to return to work after Oshkosh chemical leak
OSHKOSH, Wis. — Police say a chemical leak at an Oshkosh plant has been contained.

Officials at Hydrite Chemical reported the leak at 6:46 a.m. Monday. A few businesses in the area were evacuated as a precaution. WLUK-TV reports (http://bit.ly/2sEd0xM) that people were allowed back to their offices after about 90 minutes.

Police did not say what types of chemicals are involved. No injuries were reported.
us_WI  public  release  response  unknown_chemical 
july 2017 by dchas
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