Two dozen Camano homes evacuated in chlorine leak

CAMANO ISLAND — An apparent chlorine gas leak from a steel canister resting in a pickup outside a Camano Island home prompted the temporary evacuation of about two dozen homes late Tuesday night.

A half-dozen people exposed to the gas were checked over for respiratory difficulties, Camano Island Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Levon Yengoyan said. The incident was in the area of Bartl Drive, just north of Elger Bay.

A homeowner had salvaged the 4-foot-tall, 12-inch-diameter cylinder and planned on disposing of it, Yengoyan said.

The fire official described it as “a very small leak,” adding, “certainly you could smell it in the area, but the atmosphere and the wind are taking it away.”

The male homeowner had the most exposure to the gas, the fire official said. He estimated that “five to seven people” were exposed.

In addition, an Island County sheriff’s deputy was taken to the hospital as a precaution for possible exposure.

The deputy was later released and is fine, Undersheriff Kelly Mauck said Wednesday.

One unit of the Snohomish County hazardous materials team responded Tuesday night to assess the problem and called for another hazmat crew to cap the leak, Yengoyan said. That would allow residents to return home.

Used in industry and some household products, chlorine gas can be recognized by its pungent, irritating odor, like the odor of bleach.

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