Chemical spill on plane at BWI results in injuries to 5

June 19, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer Staff writer Larry Carson contributed to this article.

An article in yesterday's editions of The Sun incorrectl identified the owner of a plane involved in a chemical spill at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The plane belonged to United Parcel Service.

The Sun regrets the error.

A chemical spill yesterday morning in the belly of a United Postal Service airplane parked at Baltimore-Washington International Airport sent five people to area hospitals with minor injuries.

Effects from the small spill stretched beyond the airport boundaries after a Federal Armored Express truck delivered contaminated packages to Canton Industrial Park in eastern Baltimore County.


Two workers at the park, in the 7600 block of Canton Center Drive, were overcome by fumes, fire officials said. Authorities evacuated the Federal Armored Express Building for several hours.

Two of the three UPS workers were taken from the airport to Maryland Shock Trauma Center for treatment. The third was treated at the scene by medics. The Federal Armored Express workers were treated and released from the Francis Scott Key Medical Center and Franklin Square Hospital Center.

Officials from UPS, the Federal Aviation Administration and local fire departments were investigating how the chemical -- Cyclic Amine -- spilled from a 5 gallon drum. The chemical is used in metal etching, fire officials said.

Airport officials said the UPS workers were overcome while unloading packages from the DC-8 airplane onto a belt-loader about 7:10 a.m. in the cargo area of the airport. They were unsure if the workers were handling the drum.

Kenneth E. Shapero, a UPS spokesman, said employees Danyetta Lewis and Anthony Fertitta suffered nausea and skin irritation. Ms. Lewis was released from Shock Trauma yesterday; Mr. Fertitta was listed in fair condition. The spokesman said Joan Barr, who was driving the loader, got some of the chemical on her hands and was treated at the scene. Mr. Shapero described the chemical as a "nonhazardous" industrial solution that is combustible at temperatures over 145 degrees.

The spokesman said company officials will investigate how the chemical was packaged, though he said that preliminary information shows nothing improper. "The shipper told us how it was packaged and it sounded like they did the right thing," he said, declining to identify the company.

Mr. Shapero said the chemical drum was among the last packages to be unloaded from the plane, so there were minimal delivery delays. Airport officials said operations were unaffected and no flights were hampered. Firefighters from BWI and hazardous materials units from Anne Arundel County and Fort Meade spent nearly 6 1/2 hours containing the spill. UPS officials were responsible for cleaning the plane.

Before firefighters arrived, a Federal Armored Express truck picked up several packages from the airplane. UPS employees asked the truck driver to stay, said Duncan C. Henderson, associate administrator for airport operations. But the truck pulled away. The company's senior vice president, Joseph E. Benedict, said he had not heard about the UPS request.

The armored express van arrived at the Canton Industrial Park shortly before 9:30 a.m. and some packages were taken inside, Baltimore County fire officials said.

Mike Griesor, 26, suffered chest pains, and Carl Warren, 44, suffered from nausea and skin irritation, fire officials said.

The county Fire Department evacuated the building while the packages were decontaminated and the building was aired out. Employees were allowed to return to work by 1:30 p.m.

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