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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

Fumes Send 11 Firefighters to Hospital

August 26, 2000

CARSON — Potentially toxic fumes from a fire that gutted a large buoy manufacturing plant early Friday sent 11 firefighters to the hospital, Los Angeles County fire officials said.

The two-alarm blaze broke out about 4:45 a.m. in the 17000 block of South Broadway after an apparent explosion inside the plant. It took more than an hour to bring under control and forced the evacuation of surrounding businesses, officials said.

About 50 to 60 firefighters responded to the blaze, and some entered the building because it did not have placards indicating hazardous chemicals were inside, county Fire Inspector Mark Tolbert said.

However, 55-gallon drums inside the plant began exploding and giving off fumes that included diocyanide, benzene and toluene, all extremely hazardous chemicals, Tolbert said.

Eleven firefighters who inhaled the fumes were taken to Harbor-General Hospital in Torrance and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

Two other firefighters also were exposed to fumes but declined to go to the hospital, he added. Tolbert said such fumes are known to cause headaches, nausea, dizziness and numbness.

Because of the exploding drums, firefighters had to fight most of the blaze from outside the large building, Tolbert said. By noon Friday, fire investigators were beginning to pick through the the debris to determine the cause.

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