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Chile: at least 3 people die after inhaling acid

March 4, 2015

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Officials say at least three people have died in Chile’s capital city after inhaling hydrochloric acid while working in the basement of a clinic.

Firefighter chief Mauricio Repetto says two of the men were workers cleaning a septic tank at the San Cristobal clinic in Santiago’s affluent Vitacura neighborhood. The levels of the acid accumulated until they lost consciousness. The other person, who worked for the clinic, was killed when he tried to rescue them.

Officials cited by local media had earlier reported that Wednesday’s deaths were caused by a blast sparked by a gas leak. But Santiago Mayor Claudio Dorrego dismissed those reports.

Police have cordoned off the area near the clinic, and a special firefighters’ unit that deals with hazardous materials is at the site.

Update hourly