Chlorine Leak Investigated

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

The company involved in a chlorine gas incident that forced the evacuation of the Northeast Community
Center in Reno has previous safety and environmental citations,
records show.
Officials said the incident Monday occurred after a delivery of
supplies by Sierra Chemical Co.
Muriatic acid left in a tube from an earlier delivery mixed with
sodium hypochlorite, which sanitizes swimming pools, and created
toxic chlorine gas, Reno fire spokesman Steve Frady said.
Thirteen high school swimmers and three city employees were
treated at hospitals.
In January 1998, an explosion at a Sierra Chemical plant that
made blasting primers east of Sparks killed four workers and
injured three. The company was cited for 38 safety violations, and
a $997,000 fine was later reduced to $228,000.
Five years ago, the company was cited and fined $20,000 for a
chlorine leak at a Sparks plant that sent four workers to the
hospital, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.
State officials said the company failed to follow safety
procedures that could have prevented the leak. Sierra Chemical
agreed to pay $10,000 of the fine and make $12,500 in safety
improvements to offset the remainder of the penalty, state
officials said.
Last year, federal regulators fined it $28,800 for selling a
mislabed product, the newspaper said.


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