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Phenol leak claims one life, 16 injuries

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Decin, North Bohemia, April 26 (CTK) – One person hospitalised after the leak of the poisonous phenol from the tank on a lorry in the chemical plant Chemotex in Decin died on Thursday, while 16 people were injured, spokesman for the local hospital Ivo Chrastecky said.

“One man in a serious condition, who was already resuscitated on the scene of the accident, died at the intensive care unit this afternoon,” Chrastecky said.

“Two women who inhaled the phenol vapours do not have serious problems, but they are still hospitalised,” he added.

They mostly inhaled the substance or were burnt by it, regional rescue service spokesman Prokop Volenik said.

The firefighters and rescue service ended their intervention before noon.

The accident occurred in the chemical plant Chemotex, which does business in the sphere of industrial chemistry and cosmetics.

“We have driven the injured to the hospitals in Decin, Litomerice, Ceska Lipa and Usti nad Labem,” Volenik said.

One person was air-lifted to the trauma centre in Usti nad Labem. All the injured are adult persons, he added.

The Decin firefighters drove to the place at 7:43. “We do not know yet what happened. We are waiting for being let to the site,” Chemotex director Josef Urbanek told CTK.

The injured are mainly the employees of the firm and the lorry driver is an external worker.

The company uses phenol in the production of special chemical substances. The production was discontinued. There are roughly 90 employees in Chemotex, Urbanek said.

The Decin town hall has informed the public on Facebook that the surrounding area was not contaminated.

“It occurred solely within the chemical plant. No further security measures had to be taken because phenol is not volatile,” town hall spokeswoman Marketa Lakoma said.

A hose broke open when the substance was pumped, she added.

The Czech Environment Inspection (CIZP) was also informed about the accident.

Hazardous substances have repeatedly leaked in the Czech Republic.

In 1997, the dangerous gas cyanuric chloride got out of the Synthesia plant in Pardubice, east Bohemia, having injured five of its employees.

Two years later, chlorine poisoned a part of the Toray textile plant in Prostejov, central Moravia. Seven people were then hospitalised.

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