Brazil chemical fire containing chloric acid extinguished after two days

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Updated Jan. 17, 2016 at 9:58 AM
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SANTOS, Brazil, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A chemical fire that began after an explosion in Brazil's Port of Santos was extinguished on Saturday after two days as nearly 200 people were hospitalized with difficulty breathing.

The Santos fire that began at a cargo warehouse spread toxic gas over the port, which is Brazil's largest, and across four cities. The container terminal at the port was operated by the Localfrio logistics company based in the Guaruja municipality on the eastern side of Santos in São Paulo state.

Localfrio said the containers at the warehouse were full of chloric acid and sodium dichloroisocyanurate, a disinfectant, which generated an explosive reaction when the chemicals came in contact with rainwater.

About 85 containers on the site were damaged. More than 300 firefighters battled the blaze at its peak. Officials have launched an investigation into the cause.

Guaruja mayor Maria Antonieta de Brito has warned that people should stay out of rain, as it could "contain chemical elements that can burn the skin."

Guaruja City Hall, which announced the fire was put out, warns that any citizen who feels discomfort in the throat, irritation in the eyes or feels nauseous should seek help immediately.

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