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75 Evacuated in Chemical Spill at Surgery Center

Seventy-five workers at Memorial Health Center in Huntington Beach were evacuated Friday afternoon after an employee spotted a leak of a hazardous chemical in a storage room on the first floor of the building.

According to Huntington Beach fire officials, a total of 31 firefighters and Orange County Health Care Agency specialists helped in the cleanup effort Friday afternoon and evening. There were no injuries, they said.

The chemical was ethylene oxide, which is used to sterilize instruments for surgery. It is extremely flammable as well as being a health hazard, authorities said. It was kept in two 90-pound tanks in the storeroom.

The center is an outpatient surgery center, the Huntington Beach Fire Department said.

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The Westminster Fire Department also participated in the cleanup, fire officials said.


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