On August 15, 1997 at about 0915 hours, the Oakwood and Maple Heights Fire Depts
were summoned to the Ferro Chemical Company on Krick Road in Walton Hills for a chemical
On arrival, firefighters found a liquid spill of bromine chloride ( a strong corrosive)
from a 150 pound liquefied compressed gas cylinder.
The hazmat team was requested at 0917 hrs by Oakwood FD. Mutual aid was also requested
from Bedford FD.
Plant employees had discovered the leak and were attempting to plug the bottom of
a badly corroded cylinder. The release caused a 15 ft liquid pool to form which was
then releasing bromine and chlorine gas to the atmosphere. The green corrosive vapor
cloud was visible above the building.
Plant employees attempted to neutralize the liquid spill with sodium bisulfate solution,
which caused a sudden exothermic reaction, and substantially increased the vapor
Twelve plant employees suffered inhalation injuries before this approach was abandoned.
All the affected patients were treated and released, except one male who was admitted
for four days with complications.
Area businesses, including 100 people, were evacuated from the area by firefighters
and police officers.
The Hazmat Team provided technical assistance to the IC, product information to the
hospitals and EMS providers, and decon for eleven firefighters who were contaminated
with product and/or neutralizing agent. Ohio EPA supervised the clean-up operation.
All public safety personnel and equipment were released from the scene at 1245 hours.