Employees of Goshen, Ind.-based Benteler Industries and RV supplier Flair Interiors were sent home Friday (Aug. 17) morning after several fell ill from an apparent chemical leak from a truck. According to a report by the Goshen News, none of the ailments were considered life threatening.
IU Health Goshen Hospital officials said that 24 people were brought to the Emergency Department with inhalation symptoms, including shortness of breath, headache and nausea. Patients began arriving at 9:08 a.m. by ambulance from Benteler Automotive and Flair Interiors.
A Goshen fire official said Benteler management was going to send employees home after a second evacuation of the building — the first at about 9 a.m. and the second at about 10:50 a.m.
Fire officials said they have tested the air and nothing registered.
The Goshen Fire Department was alerted to a possible gas leak at the Benteler Automotive factory in the Goshen Industrial Park on the city’s southside at about 9 a.m. Friday.
According to Assistant Fire Chief Jim Ramer, crews quickly discovered it was not a gas leak, but that a truck unloading a chemical may have been leaking an unknown chemical which caused several workers inside the factory and across the street at Flair Interiors to be transported to a local hospital with breathing difficulty and chest pain. Ramer estimated about eight people were transported.
Firefighters reported that the smell was “oily” and that it possibly spread through the air conditioning system. After crews completed two sweeps of the building and everything seemed normal workers were allowed back into the factory.
Ramer said that the driver of the truck unloading a chemical said his tank trailer had just been cleaned and that it possible that whatever was used to clean the tank was leaking during the unloading process and causing the problems, Ramer said.
The Goshen fire department is investigating the cause.