Fluoride Action Network

Area evacuated over gas leak fear

Source: The Japan Times | August 6th, 2003
Industry type: Miscellaneous

SHIZUOKA (Kyodo) Thousands of Shizuoka residents were evacuated from their homes on Tuesday due to a possible leakage of poisonous gas from a paper-making factory. But local authorities later lifted the order after alleviating the danger.

The municipal government ordered about 18,000 people living within 1 km of the Tomoegawa Paper Co. factory in the city’s Mochimunetomoe area to evacuate after the company called firefighters around 11:20 a.m. to report the potential that a tank could begin leaking hydrogen fluoride.

About 160 people in the immediate vicinity evacuated to nearby community centers or gymnasiums. The Tokyo-based company ordered its workers to close the factory windows and stay in their rooms.

Local police said there was fear the hydrogen fluoride, which is both poisonous and flammable, could leak from the tank when the temperature within it rose to a level much higher than its usual level of 300 C.

Firefighters cooled the tank down and began investigating the cause of the high temperatures.