At least 13 transported from Johnston HazMat

Crews responded to a recycling facility in Johnston for a potential chemical leak. (Photo: Justin White)

JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating a hazardous materials accident at a recycling facility in Johnston.

The call came in around 10:20 a.m. to the facility at 33 Shun Pike for reports of a mass casualty incident.

Eyewitness News has confirmed at least 13 people were transported to the hospital after experiencing skin irritation and breathing problems.

According to Michael O’Connell, executive director of Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp., a container holding cleaning products went through a shredder at the agency’s recycling plant.

“This morning, the Materials Recycling Facility in Johnston was evacuated after a worker reported a small amount of smoke on the sorting line. The line was stopped immediately and emergency procedures were enacted,” O’Connell said in a written statement.

O’Connell said the exposure was not life threatening, and the workers were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

He said the facility was shut down for the day so the source of the problem could be identified and removed.

“We remind Rhode Islanders to learn recycling rules. An improperly disposed container is likely to be the source of this incident and makes this situation preventable,” O’Connell said.

For information about what can and can’t be recycled, go to www.recycletogetherri.org.

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