Evacuation requested after four injured in explosion | VailDaily.com

Evacuation requested after four injured in explosion

Daily Staff Report

BERTHOUD – Authorities asked 500 people to evacuate their homes Friday as crews cleaned up a water treatment plant where a chemical explosion injured four workers.None of the injuries was serious, authorities said.Two of the injured required hospital treatment, and four firefighters had to be decontaminated for chemical exposure, she said.The Berthoud Fire Department said chlorine exploded Friday morning at the Carter Lake Filtration Plant about 40 miles north of Denver.Larimer County sheriff’s spokeswoman Eloise Campanella said the evacuations were voluntary and were considered a precautionary measure. A hazardous materials team was inside the building.Campanella said damage to the building was extensive but no dollar estimate was immediately available.Residents advised to stay indoorsAuthorities blocked roads into and out of the area and advised nearby residents who remained in their homes to close windows and turn off air conditioners, Campanella said.Berthoud Fire spokeswoman Chloe McKinley said the explosion was caused when a delivery company unloaded chemicals at the plant that were not compatible with other chemicals.Judy Dahl, business manager for the Little Thompson Water District, one of the operators of the plant, confirmed a truck was unloading chemicals at the time.Dahl said no water-quality problems were expected because other plants in the system were still operating.Chlorine is used to disinfect water but is toxic as a gas and poses a serious risk of fire and explosion. In World War I it became the first chemical used as a weapon.Debra Graves of the Berthoud Fire District said it was not known how much chlorine leaked into the atmosphere.

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