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Long Beach : Spill of Industrial Solvent Forces 4-Hour Evacuation

July 11, 1991

About 100 gallons of an industrial solvent spilled during a transfer from rail car to storage tank, forcing the evacuation of at least 100 Long Beach residents, fire officials said.

No injuries were reported from the spill, which occurred Tuesday night at the Bulk Terminal Co., 960 Fairbanks Ave., Fire Capt. Wayne Wartenberg said.

"It was human error, a miscalculation," said Bob Caldon, Fire Department spokesman. He said the propylene glycol methyl ether acetate overflowed a 20,000-gallon storage tank, and most of the solvent collected in a diked area. Caldon said the solvent had a strong odor, "like nail polish remover."

Residents downwind of the spill area were evacuated to a center set up by the American Red Cross at a nearby school, and were allowed to return to their homes after about four hours, officials said.

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