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5 Alcoa employees suffer chemical-related injuries (911 audio)

By Jennifer Lee Preyss , Jessica Priest
Sept. 9, 2013 at 4:09 a.m.
Updated Sept. 10, 2013 at 4:10 a.m.

Five Alcoa employees suffered chemical-related injuries while cleaning a piece of equipment at Alcoa at 5 p.m. Monday.

Two of the employees suffered chemical burns and were transported to hospitals in Galveston. A third employee was treated and released at Citizens Medical Center, said Laurel Cahill, Alcoa communications and community affairs supervisor.

Two additional employees suffered minor injuries on location and were treated at the plant.

Cahill said there was no fire, or explosion attached to the incident and said it was isolated event to the digestion area of the plant. No other employees were injured, she said.

The Mine and Safety Administration was notified.

Cahill refused to release any additional information about the incident, including names, ages and sex of the injured, or the hospitals to which the employees were transported. She was not aware of which law enforcement agencies responded to the emergency call.

"Our employees' health and recovery is our primary focus at this time. We have no additional comment at this time - we respect their right to privacy," Cahill wrote in an email.

Calhoun County Sheriff George Aleman did not immediately return phone calls Monday.

Port Lavaca Police Chief James Martinez said his department did not respond to the incident at Alcoa.

Point Comfort Fire Department firefighter Stefan Ranney said he wasn't aware of an incident at Alcoa.

Alcoa began manufacturing activities in Calhoun County in 1948. It has the capacity to process 2.3 million metric tons of alumina per year. It has 600 employees residing in more than a dozen South Texas counties, according to the company's website.

Aluminum comes from alumina, which is oxide that occurs in nature, according to the Aluminum Association.



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