Washington: A leak in a trailer carrying hazardous chemicals created a massive chemical spill in Beach Park, Illinois, on Thursday, sending 37 people to the hospital, including seven in critical condition, authorities said.
After citing preliminary reports of the investigation, CNN confirmed that the containers, filled with anhydrous ammonia, were being carried by trailer on Green Bay Road in Beach Park, a village north of Chicago.
Anhydrous ammonia, a colourless gas with pungent fumes, can cause unconsciousness and even death when inhaled. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the chemical is commonly used by farmers as an agricultural fertilizer.
“Beach Park Incident: 7 of the 37 transported to area hospitals are in critical, but stable condition. This includes one firefighter. A total of 11 firefighters and 3 police officers were transported to the hospital,” the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said on its Twitter account.
Mike Gallo, from Lake Forest Fire Department, told CNN that the chemical leakage has been controlled while urging everyone within a one-mile radius of the spill to stay inside the house with their windows closed and keep air conditioning and heaters switched off.
The spill also caused several schools in Beach Park to remain closed for the day, police said.