Gas leak sickens 21 workers at Ridgefield warehouse

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

Updated: July 8, 2013, 8:25 PM

 

A forklift battery that was being charged leaked a small amount of gas into the air at a Ridgefield plant Monday, causing 21 workers to complain of minor symptoms.

Most of them were sent to area hospitals for evaluation after the gas, which contained sulfuric acid, escaped into the air, said Clark County Fire & Rescue spokesman Tim Dawdy.

The incident occurred around 7 a.m. Monday at Northwest Natural Products, 10 S. 56th Place, near the Ridgefield junction with Interstate 5.

Dawdy said the first callout resulted in 14 people being sent for evaluation and treatment. The agency implemented a mass casualty incident protocol wherein they transported the 14 patients to several hospitals in the area to avoid overloading one hospital’s emergency room.

Hazmat crews ventilated the building and employees went back to work. But at about 12:30 p.m., the agency was called back out to the business, when seven more people complained of minor sickness.

No one was reported to have suffered serious injuries.

Northwest Natural Products produces more than 140 different varieties of vitamin and nutritional products, including Vita­fusion vitamins for adults and L’il Critters vitamins for children.

The company is a subsidiary of Church & Dwight Co. of Princeton, N.J., whose other brands include Arm & Hammer.