Authorities were searching Wednesday for tanks of potentially dangerous chlorine and hydrogen that were stolen from a South Bay chemical company.
Rupture of the tank of chlorine, compressed to liquid form, could force the evacuation of several city blocks, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Robert McLin, while a hydrogen leak could cause an explosion.
The tanks were stolen Tuesday night or Wednesday morning from California Bionuclear Corp., 13125 S. Broadway, in an unincorporated area near Carson, deputies said.
Ahmed Riad, president of California Bionuclear, said "very foolish" thieves took the tanks from an area protected by two fences, where the firm, which prepares radioactive chemicals for research laboratories, is constructing a lab.