Fumes from plant send locals to hospital

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 5, 2006


Staff Reporter

ST. ROSE- Fumes released from a nearby truck tanker cleaning company caused evacuations of a St. Rose restaurant and casino.

Several people were transferred to the hospital around 8:20 pm Tuesday after the fumes released from a product called Earptails was being cleaned from one of the truck tankers at Express Container Services in St. Rose. An ambulance was dispatched to St. Rose Travel Center to transport affected individuals.

&#8220Earptails is an irritant that may cause coughing and irritated eyes, said Steve Young, manager of Express Container Solutions. We have cleaned this chemical before and have never had a problem with it. The wind direction and the heat just seemed to be right for it to blow to the restaurant,” said Young. He was not sure what chemicals were in the product.

Young clarified that the chemical fumes were not from the cleaning solution they use, but from the truck’s tanker. &#8220We use a caustic solution and powdered detergent mixed with hot and cold water to clean the tanks,” he said.

&#8220We cleaned the tank and then cleaned the shelves and racks thoroughly from the area and were back in business by about 12:30,” Young said.

One woman who declined to be identified was at the Rose Casino when the fumes were released.

&#8220I was in the casino and I had to leave before the ambulance arrived; I couldn’t take the smell and was having trouble breathing, so I left. Since then I have been coughing and had trouble breathing and my eyes are irritated,” she said.

&#8220One man who was on oxygen was affected badly and he had a very hard time,” she said.

Young said the matter is still under investigation and was unsure about any further action taken at this time.

No further information was available about the condition of the individuals who went to the hospital, and a representative of St. Rose Travel Center was unavailable for comment.