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Workers Clean Spilled Chemicals; Evacuees Return Home

August 28, 1993

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) _ Workers cleaned up chemicals spilled by a series of explosions at a plant and 5,000 residents who had fled the fire’s caustic fumes returned to their homes.

No one was seriously injured in the blasts Friday morning at the Aztec Catalyst Co., but about 50 people were treated at hospitals for minor complaints such as throat and eye irritation, officials said.

The plant makes chemicals for the cosmetics and plastics industries.

Experts from Aztec’s parent company, Phillips Petroleum Co., were to inspect the plant today to try to determine the cause of the explosions, said Phillips spokesman Rob Phillips.

The cleanup of chemicals trapped in holding dikes or on the ground was expected to be completed today.

One building was destroyed and a second heavily damaged in the fire that burned for about 8 1/2 hours. The evacuees were from a one-mile radius around the plant.

Records show there have been at least 23 fires and one chemical spill at the plant since 1979.

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