Man overcome by fumes

(From The Pasadena Citizen- January 23, 2004)

La Porte Fire Fighters, who responded to an incident on Underwood, watch a victim who was exposed to vapors before he was taken to Bayshore Medical Center Thursday.

An employee of Texas Molecular, Inc., was overcome by fumes Thursday while working on a railroad tank car in the 5100 block of Underwood.

The victim, whose full identification was not disclosed, reportedly opened the dome on the rail car in which a waste product containing benzene and arsenic had been loaded, according to Clif Meekins, senior captain of the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office.

La Porte EMS and Deer Park EMS responded to the incident, but the victim, who regained consciousness, refused medical treatment, Meekins said.

According to Meekins, the victim was decontaminated at the scene and transported to Bayshore Medical Center by another employee of the company.

Meekins did not have an update of the victim's condition.

Another worker closed the latch immediately after he discovered the employee had become unconscious.

Reports indicate that the victim did not have a respirator on when he opened the container. Kirk Edwards, a manager for the Texas Molecular, said, according to procedure, the victim should have had a respirator on when he opened the tank.

Meekins said the vapor that was released was contained to the site.

He used an air tester and determined that about two hours after the incident no hazardous chemicals remained in the air at the site.

Pasadena Volunteer Fire Department, Pasadena Hazmat team, La Porte Fire Department, The Texas Department of Transportation and Harris County Sheriff's Office also responded to the incident.

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