Brazil : A chemical explosion at a cargo warehouse in Santos, Brazil caused massive toxic gas release and resulted in spread of toxic gas over the country’s biggest port. As news spread about the leak, and as air filled with smoke and dust of toxic fumes, the company owners said the containers in Santos were full of acid and a disinfectant which came into contact with rainwater, causing a reaction.
The situation spread toxic air in the vicinity, and as air trapped from the containers mixed with humidity, a dampened air came up on the breathing zone of people residing in the area. Immediately, the cargo terminal and nearby homes were evacuated. Those residents who did not leave the vicinity were asked to stay inside and strictly sit indoors.
The area’s mayor informed that at least 66 people were taken to hospital with breathing difficulties. Mayor Mario Antonieta de Brito asked people to stay out of the rain, as it could contain chemical elements that could have the potential risk of causing burns on the skin.
The container terminal was operated by Localfrio, a logistics company, in Guaruja, an area on the eastern side of Santos, in Sao Paulo state. The company shared its clarification via a spokeswoman. She spoke on behalf of the company, which exports chemicals used for refrigeration and general cargo, and said the containers were filled with chloric acid and sodium dichloroisocyanurate – a cleaning and disinfectant agent.
Firefighters were rushed to the region and massive relief activities began. The firefighters said that rainwater had seeped into the containers causing a chemical reaction.