Chemical scare in Mitchell County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Chemical scare in Mitchell County

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November 20, 2007

Mitchell County--  Two dozen people were taken to the hospital Tuesday night after a chemical scare in Mitchell County. Carbon monoxide or a pesticide called methyl bromide, or maybe a combination of the two caused the trouble at a pecan company on Baggs Ferry Road.

It was a scene of flashing blue lights, yellow police tape and lots of questions in Mitchell County.

"I'm very concerned right now about their safety," said Deborah Robinson.

This after Baggs Ferry Road was shut down because of a chemical scare at CCSI. Even more scary--not knowing exactly what's happening.

"Yes absolutely," said Robinson.

The only sure thing Deborah Robinson could do was watch and wait behind it all. Her brother and daughter were two of several people affected inside. "I came directly here just to see if I could get in a little bit just to see what was going on," said Robinson.

What happened was at first unclear. One worker was initially taken to a Tallahassee hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning.

"After we were in route to Tallahassee, we received a call that the patient may have been exposed to methyl bromide," said Mitchell County EMA Director Ann Lamb. Emergency workers had to investigate whether the dangerous chemicals were coming from a leak or spill inside the warehouse.

"That's what we've been working on now. We have de-contaminated about 24 people," said Lamb. As a precaution, Albany Haz-Mat teams dressed in white suits washed off workers with water inside a decontamination tent. Their clothing was bagged and sealed. They were then all taken to a local hospital for more extensive testing.

"Everyone seems to be checking out fine at this time with their oxygen levels and breathing," said Lamb. The big test now is whether the danger came from carbon monoxide or methyl bromide.

"It may be a combination but we're leaning more towards...the test on the first patient was mostly carbon monoxide," said Lamb.

But the ultimate test is that of waiting for answers. "The best that I could do is just hope and pray and just wait for the word that everyone inside is going to be okay," said Robinson.

Robinson did get a call from her daughter Celeste. She told her she was just fine. "I am very, very grateful," said Robinson. She's grateful that things didn't turn out different, or even worse, deadly from this chemical scare in Mitchell County.

We don't have any word on the condition of the one man who was taken to a hospital in Tallahassee. Most of the workers taken to Mitchell County Hospital for blood testing and are okay.  

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