2 critical, 1 serious after chemical exposure during Henrietta building demolition

    (WHAM photo)

    UPDATE (3/12): Firefighters identified the workers affected by Monday's chemical exposure incident in Henrietta.

    Andrew Cobin, 31, is in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital. Firefighters say his condition is improving. Steve Fousse, 19, is also at Strong in guarded condition.

    Matthew Roberts, 45, was also taken to the hospital after Monday's incident. He has since been discharged.

    Tim McCarty, 58, and Byron Lewis, 27, were treated at the scene.

    The Department of Labor confirmed Wednesday that OSHA opened an inspection of Frederico Demolition on Monday following the incident. Inspections determine whether or not a given employer was in compliance with OSHA workplace safety standards at the time of an incident.

    Original article:

    Henrietta, N.Y. (WHAM) - Three people are suffering serious medical symptoms related to a chemical exposure in Henrietta on Monday morning.

    Firefighters from the Henrietta Fire District are at the former Amesbury Truth building on Jefferson Road near North Winton Road.

    While workers were doing demolition work on site, they were exposed to a dangerous chemical after hitting a pipe. The chemical to which the workers were exposed is methylenediphenyl diisocyanate (MDI). MDI is used to make more dense polyurethane foam insulation.

    "There were 3 to 4 large tanks of this material," said Mark Cholach, assistant fire chief with the Henrietta Fire District. "The tanks had been cleaned out. They were in the process demolishing those tanks and the associated pipes that ran from the tanks to the building. It appears during the demo of one of those pipes, the chemical came out and was exposed to the patients."

    A total of five workers were affected by the exposure. Two of the workers are considered critical, while a third is considered to be in serious condition. Two others have minor medical symptoms; fire officials did not have additional information as to what that consisted of.

    “When you inhale it, it causes inflammation of the lungs, which basically prevents you from breathing,” said Cholach. “Any chemical we deal with hazardous, anything that’s not our normal stuff we really need to consider it a very hazardous material.”

    Firefighters said the workers are employed by Frederico Demolition, a company hired by AmesburyTruth, Inc. to remove the company’s equipment from the facility.

    Officials are now working to determine the extent of chemical leak. There are about 50 personnel on scene, according to fire officials.

    Businesses inside the building were evacuated for the day.

    The Monroe County Hazmat Team spent about five hours cleaning up the spill and making sure the building was safe.

    “We don’t want to be a victim,” said Cholach. “In reality, if we become victims ourselves, we can’t render assistance to anyone.”

    Several agencies, including the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and OSHA, are now investigating.

    The OSHA inspection process can take up to six months to complete. It is too early in the process to estimate a completion date for the OSHA inspection, according to labor officials.

    OSHA does not comment on the specifics of an ongoing inspection but will report the outcome once the inspection is completed.

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