A reported release of 300 gallons of hydrochloric acid from the Texas City storage facility Dallas Group of Americas has sent several people to the hospital (current reports are nine people) and forced 45,000 residents of Texas City to remain indoors, turn off air conditioning units and make sure all windows and doors remained closed.
It was unknown what the cause of the leak was, but hydrochloric acid can have a corrosive effect on human tissue and has the potential to damage the lungs, eyes, skin, and intestines. The area’s emergency management systems were activated and it is reported that fire fighters were among those who were hospitalized for exposure following the rupture of the tank. As to those ordered to shelter in place, it was expected the order to be lifted by 6:00 am on Thursday, October 25, 2012.
Both Texas City government and corporate officials were expected to be involved in the clean-up process. Hydrochloric acid has a number of industrial uses, and the residents of Texas City have been subjected to more than one of these types of releases in the past.