At least 40 people treated, 8 hospitalized, for exposure to airborne irritant in Castaic

Firefighters debrief outside a building near the 28000 block of Franklin Parkway in Castaic Tuesday morning. Austin Dave/The Signal

Eight people were taken to the hospital late Monday night after they and 32 others were exposed to an airborne chemical irritant at an industrial company in Castaic.

The incident happened at TA Aerospace, a division of Esterline, on Franklin Parkway near Braxton Avenue, in Castaic.

“Forty people were exposed, 31 were employees,” said Supervisor Cheryl Sims of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Of the 31 employees treated at the scene, 23 signed forms stating they “don’t need to be transported to hospital,” she said.

Firefighters debrief outside a building near the 28000 block of Franklin Parkway in Castaic Tuesday morning. Austin Dave/The Signal

Shortly before 11:30 p.m., paramedics were dispatched to the 28000 block of Franklin Parkway for reports of a hazardous materials incident, Lim said.

When paramedics arrived at the scene at 10:54 p.m., they requested several more ambulances for patients at the site.

“This was reported as a smoke cloud or hazardous material,” Lim said. “Initially, it was reported that 15 people were exposed to mixed chemicals.”

Paramedics, firefighters and HazMat crews remained at the scene overnight, clearing at 9:20 a.m. Tuesday.

Shortly after 1 a.m., officials with the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Health & Safety, were notified of the incident, CAL OSHA spokesman Frank Polizzi said Tuesday.

“We were notified of a chemical exposure and the hospitalization of eight employees,” he said.

“We don’t know what the chemical was,” he added. “CAL OSHA has opened an investigation today into the incident.”

Calls placed to TA Aerospace were referred to a media spokeswoman with Esterline but there was no answer at the number supplied.

When the emergency call first went out, deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station responded as well.

“We provided assistance to the fire department,” Lt. Andy Dahring said.

“We were stopping traffic of people going into the site and (possibly) getting contaminated,” he said. “The deputies never found out what the chemical was.”

Dahring said deputies assisted about 40 people in the evacuation of the industrial site, noting patients were taken to either Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital or Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.

TA Aerospace is a division of Esterline, which is a publicly traded company that makes  specialty products for the aerospace and defense industry, including products for Boeing and Airbus.

On its website, Esterline describes TA Aerospace as “a world leader in the design and manufacture of metallic and elastomer clamping systems, grommets and thermal fire barrier insulation.”

The company registered a product it describes as a fuel-resistant material providing insulation “for hydraulic fluid lines inside an aircraft’s fuel tank.”

Esterline itself is a publicly traded company that designs, manufactures and markets specialty products primarily for the aerospace and defense industry.


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