Five Injured in Chemical Explosion

NY Daily News - December 18, 2007

by MELISSA GRACE

A chemical explosion in a midtown office tower injured four workers and an FDNY battalion chief Monday and caused the evacuation of nearly 700 people, officials said.

The 10:39 a.m. combustion at the News Corp. building, at 1211 Sixth Ave., sparked as a maintenance crew accidentally spilled a chemical used to keep the heating and air conditioning system bacteria-free, fire officials said.

The battalion chief suffered chest pains and was taken to Roosevelt Hospital for evaluation, fire officials said.

A maintenance worker was taken to St. Luke's Hospital with a cut to his head. Three others were treated at the scene with minor injuries.

The spill occurred on the 45th floor, where the heating, cooling and other utilities for the building are located.

The chemical reaction occurred as the anti-bacterial agent biocide spilled and mixed with a second chemical, according to the FDNY.

The 42nd through 45th floors were temporarily evacuated. Twelve FDNY fire trucks and 50 firefighters responded to the scene, officials said.