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Industrial Park Explosion Injures 25

March 16, 1985

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A container of waste chemicals exploded and touched off a fire at an industrial park Friday, critically burning one person, prompting the hospitalization of 24 others, and forcing at least 1,000 to flee the area.

The evacuations from a school and businesses at a Scripps Ranch industrial park in northeast San Diego were a precaution against the possibility that fumes might leak from Fluid Systems Co.

A 55-gallon drum of waste that exploded shortly after 1:30 p.m. touched off the fire, said fire department spokesman Denis McNeill.

The drum apparently contained ″sludges and things from other chemicals″ used at Fluid Systems, but authorities were unsure if any toxic wastes were stored in the drum, McNeill said.

He also said investigators are still trying to determine what caused the explosion and fire, which involved the highly flammable chemical naphtha, the toxic chemical toluene diisocyanate, or TDI, and polyvinyl alcohol.

The fire was doused by the building’s sprinklers, McNeill said.

McNeill said between 500 and 600 workers at five buildings in the industrial park were evacuated, along with 300 to 400 children from a nearby school.

Fluid Systems makes water filters, said company spokesman Randy Truby.

A Fluid Systems worker suffered third-degree burns over 95 percent of his body, said Pat JaCoby, a spokeswoman for the University of California-San Diego Medical Center.

The worker, John Goik, 29, was in critical condition Friday evening, McNeill said.

Three other Fluid Systems employees were hospitalized, along with six firefighters, eight police officers and seven bystanders. All were in stable condition and were being held only for observation, he said.

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