Three barge workers exposed to chemical
CATLETTSBURG, Ky. -- Three people working on a barge in the Ceredo-Kenova area Tuesday morning were exposed to a hazardous chemical and were taken to Catlettsburg before being decontaminated and transported to King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland.
The three Ingram Barge workers were exposed to methyl acrylate. Their clothes were taken off and they were sprayed down with water from fire hoses before being taken to the hospital, said Tom Adams, director of the Boyd County Emergency Medical Service.
One of the men complained of shortness of breath while the other two complained of eye irritation, Adams said. Ashland firefighters, Catlettsburg police and firefighters, and ambulance crews responded to the call of a chemical vapor exposure at 10:13 a.m. Tuesday.
The chemical vapor can be an irritant to the respiratory system and can be absorbed through the skin, Adams said. A serious exposure can be fatal, he said. Like second-hand smoke, the vapor can work its way through clothes and be exposed to skin, he said.
Methyl acrylate is an acute toxin, according to Wikipedia. It is a colorless liquid with a characteristic acrid odor. It is mainly produced to make acrylate fiber, which is used to weave synthetic carpets.
The call to emergency officials came in about 10:15 a.m., said Catlettsburg Fire Chief Greg Payne. He declined to release the names of the three barge workers.
The barge workers were putting together at mile marker 311 on the Ohio River about six miles upriver of Catlettsburg when when one of the workers opened up a void and went inside the barge, Payne said.
"It's very dangerous if inhaled," Brown said.
A fourth barge worker who was potentially exposed took a shower at the Merdie Boggs dock and wasn't transported to the hospital, Payne said.
"We've had people fall off barges before, but never anything like this," Payne said.
A King's Daughters spokesman declined to give any information on the three, citing patient privacy policies and because the names of the individuals weren't released by Ingram Barge or Catlettsburg fire officials.
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