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Paint Chemicals Smoke Out Carboline

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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A mixture of coatings chemicals at Carboline’s Green Bay plant caused a high-temperature reaction that sent smoke billowing out of the facility and prompted an evacuation Monday (Oct. 21), authorities reported.

No injuries were reported.

On Sunday night (Oct. 20), workers at Carboline mixed parts of a chemical coating together inside the facility, according to the Green Bay Metro Fire Department. The chemical coating is "usually mixed by the end-user while spraying it onto various surfaces," the fire department said.

In this case, the fire department reported, the coating mixture was mixed prematurely, causing a  reaction and sending white smoke from the plant at 8:25 a.m. CT Monday.

The workers placed the chemicals into drums and moved them outside to the loading dock, producing "significant amounts of heat" and smoke, the department said.

Carboline smoke
Twitter / @nikkijunewicz

Fire crews responded to a chemical mixture that overheated, sending smoke out of the Carboline facility in Green Bay on Monday. No injuries were reported.

A Carboline spokesman said that the chemicals are used to make epoxy paint, according to local media reports.

Chemicals Mixed Indoors

"When they realized that they probably shouldn't have been mixed inside the plant, they were put into six, 55-gallon drums and brought outside," Lt. Nick Craig, Public Information Officer for the Green Bay Metro Fire Department, told Fox11 on Monday.

"Obviously, it took a while for the reaction to get started, and that's when the light smoke happened about 8:30 this morning when we were finally called."

"Our biggest concern was (making certain) that the smoke that was being produced was not toxic for the people around the area," Craig told the Press-Gazette.

Several surrounding streets were blocked off, and an elementary school and a few local businesses were told to keep everyone inside.

Carboline Response

Carboline's statement referred only to events Monday morning.

"Consistent with protocols for such incidents, the workers placed the batch into six 55-gallon drums and moved the drums to the designated environmental containment area outside of the plant, where the product could be kept isolated from other chemicals," a Carboline spokesperson said in a statement emailed to PaintSquare News Tuesday (Oct. 22).

Fire crews used water to cool the drums and suppress vapors. The Brown County Hazardous Materials Team was called to the site and monitored downwind air quality, reporting that no hazardous conditions were found.

"We are pleased to report that there were no injuries or damage to production equipment as a result of this incident," the spokesperson said.

Investigations Underway

The hazmat team is investigating and trying to determine the cause of the chemical reaction, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Mike Steinberger, the general manager of the facility, told the newspaper that employees were able to return to work later Monday. The facility and warehouse employ 90 people.

Craig said officials were trying to determine why the chemicals were mixed on-site.

Carboline said an internal investigation is underway to learn how to prevent similar situations in the future.

Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Carboline is a subsidiary of RPM International Inc. The company has over 20 manufacturing facilities around the world and develops high-performance coatings, linings and fireproofing products.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Carboline; Epoxy; Fire

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (10/23/2013, 10:15 AM)

Hmmm... mixed epoxy materials in 55 gallon drums? Sounds like waste disposal/consolidation to me - without the segregation you really should use (keep the base and cure in separate drums.) I can easily see this happening if you get a couple of guys off the plant floor during a slow period to clear out your old retains/off-spec material/etc.

Comment from Simon Williams, (10/24/2013, 8:21 PM)

They did say that the material was placed into the drums AFTER the mixing occured. Sounds more like someone grabbed the wrong drum of resin whilst making a batch.

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