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Archive for Friday, August 4, 2006

Firefighters, sheriff’s deputies might have been exposed to toxic smoke

August 4, 2006

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— Finney County sheriff's deputies and Garden City firefighters might have been exposed to toxic smoke while responding to a fire that burned down a manufacturing plant last month, officials said.

Finney County Sheriff Kevin Bascue said Wednesday that the county's human resources department notified him of the possibility that 11 firefighters and seven or eight deputies who responded to the blaze at NACO Industries could have been exposed to harmful chemicals.

It's not yet known what chemicals were stored in the building.

Bascue said all responding deputies have filed workers' compensation paperwork in case health complications arise.

Finney County Administrator Pete Olson said no county employee who responded to the fire has been tested for such exposure. He said he was told immediate testing might not reveal contamination or health problems that could arise.

Garden City Fire Chief Allen Shelton said because NACO Industries manufactured PVC fittings for irrigation systems, the plastic pipe produced a toxic smoke when it caught fire. But he said firefighters wore oxygen tanks and limited their time inside the building while fighting the blaze.

Mike Hopkins, owner of NACO Industries, said he did not know what chemicals were stored in the plant.

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