October 26, 1995 in Nation/World

Poison Gas Leak Stopped


Businesses reopened Wednesday and 3,000 evacuees straggled home after crews halted a poisonous chemical leak that spewed from a ruptured railroad tank car for nearly two days.

The car exploded Monday at the Gaylord Chemical Corp. plant, releasing a cloud of corrosive nitrogen tetroxide. Crews neutralized the chemical Tuesday night with liquid soda ash.

The chemical is used to produce dimethyl sulfoxide, a solvent used in the manufacture of pharmaceutical and agricultural chemicals. Emergency officials had said earlier the chemical was used in the adjacent paper mill to make brown bags and boxes.

The fire chief and a Gaylord employee were in serious condition Wednesday. The remaining 500 people injured were treated and released shortly after the explosion, the cause of which has not been determined.

“There was no reason at the time it arrived to believe there was anything extraordinary about that tank,” Gaylord chairman Bass Watkins told The Daily News of Bogalusa.

Watkins said the company was investigating.

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