At least seven people were taken to the hospital after an incident at HASA Inc., a pool chemical manufacturer based on Drayton Street in Saugus, according to L.A. County Fire officials.
The extent of their injuries was not known at this time.
Nine additional people were treated on the scene for injuries, according to Esteban Benitez, representative for the L.A. County Fire Department, who said that fire officials were called to the scene at 5:32 a.m., and arrived at 5:42 a.m.
Hasa staff called 911 after a transport line leaked approximately 40 gallons of muriatic acid in the facility’s secondary containment unit, according to Assistant Chief Fernando Flores in the Emergency Operations Section of L.A. County Fire’s Fire Prevention Bureau’s Health Hazardous Materials Division, which responded to the incident.
The acid is “a diluted solution of hydrochloric acid,” according to swimmingpool.com, which notes the chemical can be bought at most home-improvement stores. The site says it’s commonly used to remove salt deposits, as well as rust and other stains from brick and concrete.
The hose was on the ground where it leaked, he added.
“There must have been something else in that secondary containment area, where it mixed and it off-gassed,” Flores said. “And that’s what we don’t know, is what type of other product was already on the ground there in the secondary containment berm where the muriatic acid mixed with another chemical.”
Flores said he did not have any information regarding the nature of injuries for any Hasa employees who might have been affected by the spill. He said he was told one person who was close to the leak when the spill occurred was transferred to the hospital before his team arrived on the scene. A number of others who went to see what happened were treated for coughing and chest irritability, he said.
“Thank God it was outdoors,” Flores added, noting the ambient air helps, as opposed to if it had happened inside a building.
“We have no comment at this time,” said Jonathan Nguyen, Hasa director of operations for Southern California, outside the Saugus company’s offices Monday morning.
Founded in 1964, Hasa touts itself as “a leading producer and distributor of sodium hypochlorite and other products used to maintain water systems, including swimming pools, water tanks and containment vessels,” according to previous reports.
Started locally, the company was sold to a Texas venture capital firm in 2017.
According to the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s Hazardous Waste Tracking System website, the company has a temporary ID number that expires July 5, which was issued April 5. A man named Felix M., the contact listed for the site by the DTSC’s website, declined to comment when reached by phone Monday.
At the county level, the Health Hazardous Materials Division would permit a business such as Hasa after its inspection, which generally happens on an annual basis.
In terms of accessing information regarding any past potential spills or corrective actions at a location, a Public Records Act request would need to be filed, Flores said.
Flores also reported the spill, which was already cleaned as of Monday afternoon, did not leech into the soil or any water supply, and it was contained to the berm.
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies were also called to assist in traffic control for the incident on Railroad Avenue, according to Deputy Nicholas Hoslet, who added that deputies were advised the incident involved “pool chemical exposure.”