Fumes from Chemical Mix Bring Paramedics to Fresh Express Salad Packaging Plant in Franklin Park


Eight workers at a salad washing and packaging plant were affected by fumes from a leaking chemical drum of hypochlorite about 11 p.m. Tuesday. Franklin Park firefighters responded to Fresh Express Chicago, Inc., 11010 Addison Street, evacuated a building, and found a leaking 55-gallon drum of hypochlorite solution. At least seven people were transported to Loyola Medical Center and Elmhurst Hospital. First word is that all people are listed in good condition.

The leaking drum was contained in an overpack drum.

A Google listing for the 11010 Addison address lists an associated website of FreshExpress.com, which publishes that the company produces guaranteed fresh ready-to-eat salad packages.

Hypochlorites are the salts of hypochlorous acid. Common examples include sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach or bleaching agent) and calcium hypochlorite (bleaching powder or swimming pool chlorination compound). Hypochlorites are frequently quite unstable. Hypochlorites decompose in sunlight, giving chlorides and oxygen.

Hypochlorites reactions with organic compounds are highly exothermic (heat generating) and can cause ignition and flames.

Fire Departments with firefighter/paramedics from Addison, Bensenville, Elmwood Park, Leyden, Maywood Park, Melrose Park, Northlake, River Grove, and Schiller Park assisted Franklin Park Fire Department.

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