Germantown Gehl Foods chemical spill injures 5

Posted at 11:58 AM, Jun 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-07 19:26:46-04

GERMANTOWN -- Five people have been hospitalized after a chemical spill at Gehl Gurney Farms in Germantown, fire officials say.

Hundreds of employees were evacuated from the plant, which makes cheese and cheese sauces. Officials say there's no danger to residents, but the spill prompted a massive response from at least six different fire departments.

According to the Germantown Fire Department, a contractor accidentally poured acid into a tank of sodium chloride. That combination of chemicals caused the tank to burst, releasing fumes similar to mustard gas.

Fire crews flushed everything out of the building and are working to return to normal operations. Once the contaminated area was flushed and the pH had returned to neutral, air monitoring was completed and the plant was handed back over to Gehl's.

A total of 45 firefighters responded to the spill, according to the fire department.