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3 Face Charges in Chlorine Gas Leak From Plant

February 21, 1987

One year after a chlorine gas leak from a ruptured pipeline at its South Gate plant sent about 70 people to the hospital, the Dial Corp. and three of its employees were charged with nine misdemeanor counts in connection with the incident, the district attorney's office said Friday.

The gas leak occurred last Feb. 21 after a worker accidentally cut a hole in a pipeline, causing a cloud of green poisonous gas to spew out of the plant at Firestone Boulevard and Rayo Avenue and drift toward the nearby Tweedy Elementary School.

The leak at the plant, where Purex bleach and other products are made, lasted for eight minutes before an employee turned off a valve. Twenty-two Dial employees, 23 students and 24 teachers were treated at hospitals.

Last November, 26 parents and school staff members filed a claim against the City of South Gate, claiming that they continue to suffer respiratory and other problems as a result of the incident.

In its complaint, prosecutors charged the company and its employees with various violations of the California Administrative Code, including a failure to relieve gas pressure in the pipeline, which was being dismantled at the time of the leak.

Named in the complaint were Daniel J. King, director of manufacturing at the plant, Skip Foster, maintenance supervisor, and Nelson Landman, maintenance manager.

They are expected to be arraigned March 20 in South Gate Municipal Court, the district attorney's office said. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.

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