At least 11 people were sent to local area hospitals on Tuesday morning following a tractor trailer fire at the Knouse Foods Cooperative plant in Orrtanna, Adams County.
According to an article on EveningSun.com, plant employees were evacuated and neighbors living within a half-mile of the plant were cautioned to stay indoors due to hazardous material inside the tractor trailer that caught fire, sending the smell of burnt chemicals into the air.
A private company had been hired to apply a protective foam liner to a holding tank. The tractor trailer was being used as a workplace to apply the lining, according to the article. When a worker from the private company used a generator to start the truck, one of the chemicals ignited. Aspartame, propane, diesel fuel and other chemicals were on the truck.
Seven people were sent to Gettysburg Hospital for possible exposure to burning toluene smoke. Three were Knouse employees and 4 were medical responders. Four others were sent to local area hospitals. According to the article, the toxic fumes in the smoke were more dangerous than the runoff, as burning toluene can irriate the eyes and respiratory system. Crews were able to contain the runoff.
The state’s Department of Environmental Protection was contacted as well as the Adams County Department of Emergency Services. The plant is closed today for continued cleanup and investigation of the accident.