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Chlorine release shuts down three businesses

Schott accident not a public danger, closures brief

After visiting the accident site inside, the responders get a short decontamination hose-down before removing their gear. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
May 23, 2012
SOUTHBRIDGE — Workers at three businesses in the American Optical complex were evacuated Monday morning, May 21, after an accident at one of them created toxic chlorine.

"It was a small problem, but we ramped this up to, for lack of a better term, a big production just to be safe," said acting Fire Chief Mark DiFronzo.

The incident itself started just after 8 a.m. when an unnamed worker at Schott's Electronic Packaging division on Wells Street accidentally mixed the wrong chemicals — sodium hypochlorite and hydrochloric acid — to create highly toxic chlorine gas.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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