Officials of Air Liquide say nothing hazardous in in the air after an explosion at their chemical plant
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Officials with the company “Air Liquide” (“Lih-keed”) say nothing hazardous is in the air around High Springs and only one worker remains in the hospital this evening.
Three of the four people hurt in the explosion have been released from the hospital.
The facility is now safely shut down and according to the state department of environmental protection there was " no environmental release.”
They say there is no threat to the public.
The High Springs facility makes a specialty gas used to create computer chips.
High Springs firefighters responded to an explosion at Air Liquide, 17526 High Springs Main St. around 4 a.m. Crews were able to put out the fire and are working to mitigate potential hazards at the site.
One of the people injured in the explosion was airlifted and is in critical condition according to High Springs officials. The other three patients were taken to the hospital.
The fires were all contained in one building. High Springs Main Street was closed for about nine hours as fighters and Hazmat teams cleaned up the area.
According to the company, they are “a world leader in gases, services and technologies for Industry in Health.”
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Company officials say the Florida Department of Environmental Protection determined no environmental release has been identified and there is no known public safety concern.
A nearby resident says he was walking his dog Thursday morning when he heard a loud noise.
“I live out in the woods so we thought maybe it was a huge tree that fell down, but it didn’t sound like a tree falling down and it shook the earth.” said resident Peter George. “I mean it felt like an earthquake.”
Air Liquide provided TV20 with the following statement on the incident:
“On Thursday, May 4, 2023, at approximately 4 a.m., an explosion occurred at the Air Liquide Advanced Materials Inc. facility in High Springs, Florida. The incident caused injuries to 4 employees on site who were transferred to the local hospital. Three of the employees have been released following evaluation by medical personnel. Air Liquide extends its most sincere concern and support to its employees and their families.
The facility instituted its emergency response plan and is being supported by the Gainesville Fire Department, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and local police. The facility has been evacuated and safely shut down. Emergency responders are currently onsite, and the site is now considered stable by the Gainesville Fire Department. At this time, per the Florida DEP, no environmental release has been identified, and there is no known general public safety concern.
We are fully committed to the safety and welfare of our employees and our community. We are actively collaborating with the authorities to investigate the cause and circumstances of the incident."
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