Accident unleashes noxious cloud over Elizabeth; dozens sickened

Posted: Updated:

(09/26/06) ELIZABETH - A cloud of noxious gas blanketed a section of Elizabeth Tuesday afternoon and sickened more than 50 people in the process.

Fire department representatives say 58 people were decontaminated and taken to Trinitas, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway and Union hospitals. None of the injuries are considered serious. One firefighter was also treated at the hospital. City Fire Director Onofrio Vitullo says those taken to the hospital were treated for respiratory problems. According to Vitullo, sulfur dioxide irritates the eyes and lungs.

Medical personnel at the hospitals say the leak was the largest hazmat situation they've ever had to deal with. Workers scrambled to set up decontamination tents prior to the influx of those needing treatment. The origin of the leak has been pinpointed to a trucking company called Full Circle Carriers. The cause of the leak is under investigation, but it was initially reported a worker accidentally caused the leak while working on a container.

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