More than 29 sickened by odor at Salem plant

SALEM, Mass. — Dozens of people were sickened by an apparent carpet odor at a Salem plant late Sunday.

It was the second call to Thermal Circuits firefighters received Sunday and it wasn’t immediately clear if the business would reopen Monday morning.

That will depend on whether investigators and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials give the okay that it’s safe to return.

Salem firefighters got a call around 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon for what they said was a chlorine leak. The building was evacuated as firefighters and hazmat teams checked everything out.


The leak was said to be under control around 4 p.m. but it wasn’t until 8:30 p.m. Sunday night that the clean-up finished.

When the next shift was allowed to go back inside, several employees said they started having trouble breathing, felt nauseous and had trouble with consciousness.

Ultimately, the Salem Fire Department said the hazmat response team "found no contaminant that would be hazardous."

According to a statement, "new carpeting was being installed in the building that did leave odors but no hazardous or dangerous readings were detected."

Fire officials said OSHA, the Environmental Protection Agency and Environmental Police may be launching their own investigations. A hygienist and a chemist were scheduled to check things out Monday morning.

According to the fire department, 30 people were treated at area hospitals. Of those, 15 drove themselves to the hospital and all were expected to be released.

MORE: More than a dozen hospitalized after hazmat situation in Salem