Ohio (AP) -- A chemical reaction inside a barrel filled with
potentially toxic metal chips sent smoke spewing Thursday and
forced the evacuation of seven homes.
Brush Wellman Inc. said it was testing the air to determine
whether the cloud of smoke was toxic. There were no injuries
It wasn't clear what started the reaction,
company spokesman Larry Chako said.
The 55-gallon barrel contained chips of beryllium, a metal
used in the defense, automotive and electronics industries.
Long-term exposure to its dust can cause a fatal lung disease.
``It wouldn't cause any immediate effects,'' Chako said.
``But we don't want people exposed to that.''
Workers inside the plant, which is about 20 miles southeast
of Toledo, were moved away from the smoking barrel, and seven
homes were evacuated for about four hours.
Sand was poured into the barrel to stop the reaction, Chako
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency also was
monitoring the reaction and said it may do its own testing of
The smoke rose quickly and did not hover above the houses
or a nearby road, Chako said.