Workers at Port of Tampa injured by chemical exposure - FOX 13 News

Workers at Port of Tampa injured by chemical exposure

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Five workers were injured after being exposed to fumes at a wastewater treatment plant at the Port of Tampa yesterday.

One of the workers was taken to the hospital in critical condition. The other four were also taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

First responders got the call just before 7 p.m. Thursday evening. Investigators say workers were inside a 96-inch sewer pipe at that wastewater treatment facility, cleaning it.

At some point, the fumes were so strong they were overcome by it. Some were able to make it out of the pipe on their own; others had to be carried out.

Officials with Tampa Fire Rescue say they aren't sure what the gas was, but since it was produced by decaying matter, they think it might have been hydrogen sulfide.

The leak was not a threat to any residential areas and they didn't even have to evacuate the area of the port where the leak took place.

Investigators say they are working hard trying to figure out how all this happened.

"If the workers go too deep into the pipe, then the sewer gas displaces the oxygen. And without oxygen, of course, we cannot breathe and sustain life. That may have happened here, but I'm not sure," said Chief Emilio Salabarria of Tampa Fire Rescue.

Investigators have not released the names of any of the injured workers but say were contractors working on site.

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