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BSFR Treats Deputy and Shop Workers after Nitrogen Gas Release in Ice Cream Parlor
By MICHAEL KANE
1st Responder Network
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the
1st Responder newsroom.
By Michael Kane/BSFR PIO
Firefighters await the BSFR Hazardous Materials Team before making entry to secure the Nitrogen leak. Icing is visible on the windows of the Ice Cream Parlor from the rapid depressurization of the Nitrogen tank.
Two employees fell ill and a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy was treated on the scene after being exposed to Nitrogen Gas at the CHILL-N NITROGEN ice cream shop in Weston.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue received a call just after 4 p.m. on June 6th from employees who were complaining of severe dizziness. When firefighters arrived to the boutique ice cream parlor located at 2238 Weston Rd, they found one patient already unresponsive and another in considerable distress. The release of Nitrogen likely happened so quickly, employees could not escape the business before collapsing. Evidence of the release could be seen by the storefront windows being iced over.
The Ice Cream Parlor uses Nitrogen as a freezing agent in preparation of their desserts.
Nitrogen is an inert gas — meaning it doesn't chemically react with other gases — and generally isn't toxic. But breathing pure nitrogen could be deadly because the gas displaces oxygen and could lead to suffocation of the victim. In high concentrations, unconsciousness can occur within one or two breaths, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.
The Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue hazardous materials team responded to the incident and successfully stopped the leak which was emanating from the large storage tank measuring some 5 x 10 feet - mitigating the emergency. Firefighters ventilated the structure however the business will not be allowed to reopen until a professional service team responds to repair the Nitrogen tank assembly.
Two workers were transported to Cleveland Clinic Hospital for exposure but are expected to be fine. The deputy was treated on the scene and released.
The cause of the tank failure was not immediately known and is currently under investigation.
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