Updated By Jonquil Newland, Weekend Today Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
Emergency crews surround MFG Chemical in Dalton. / Jonquil Newland. WRCB-TV.
Damage to the roof of the MFG Chemical plant if visible from the street. / Jonquil Newland. WRCB-TV.
DALTON, GA. (WRCB) -- More than two dozen Dalton employees were taken to a local hospital Monday for decontamination after an explosion occurred at the MFG Chemical plant on Callahan Dr.
"I thought it was a pressure valve releasing," says International Coatings employee, Darrin Locke. "Heard a loud, very loud whistle."
International Coatings sits across the street from the MFG Chemical plant. Employees tell Channel 3 the explosion happened just before 9 Monday morning.
"We saw just some color in the sky. Of course we all made a mad dash for the backside of the building, not sure what was going to take place at that time," Locke says.
"We have an over-pressured rupture of a reactor," says Dalton Fire Chief Bruce Satterfield.
"It blew a hole in the roof of the building," adds Bruce Frazier, with the Dalton Police Department.
The chemical that was being made during the time of the explosion is called coagulant 129. Its a substance used for water treatment and can cause skin irritation or respiratory problems. "Its not the nastiest stuff in the world but you wouldn't want it on your skin or anything," Frazier says.
Nearly 50 employees from the surrounding area were taken to a local hospital for decontamination. Even a few from International Coatings came forward with symptoms after we talked to them.
"I've got a couple with some irritation to their throats, stuff like that," says Locke.
All told, 47 people were brought to the Hamilton Medical Center for decontamination.
"An alert went out to some people within a half mile radius of the MFG plant, just advising them to stay indoors," Frazier says.
Satterfield says debris from the blast landed on a nearby carpet plant and a number of vehicles. "Ejected all of the material out, sort of went to the south west," Satt