Update: Chemical spill patients treated and released - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Update: Chemical spill patients treated and released


MADISON (WKOW) --  The chemical spill that sent dozens to the hospital in Sauk Prairie is cleaned up, and the entire building is now open to employees.

Crews finished ventilating Unity Health Insurance and cleaning the chemical spill about 5 pm Wednesday.

All employees evacuated just minutes after the spill. According to employees, the six pregnant women working there were whisked away first. 

Megan Wopat, a pregnant employee who was taken to the Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital says, "I was at lunch and I was going back to my desk and I could smell a smell like I'd been at the pool. They said you're pregnant you've got to get out of here."

Angela Galle, another pregnant employee treated and released from the hospital, says, "I was in a meeting, and I saw the chaos outside my office and smelt something funny. Quite honestly didn't know what the leak was."

It was a gallon of solution made of chlorine and bromine: chemicals used in the cooling system in the business.

Gerald Strunz, the Sauk Prairie Police Chief, says, "Anytime you have some type of chemical leak in a facility that has an air handling system like this facility does, it obviously is a big concern. A lot of people were exposed."

Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital treated and released 39 people by the end of the day for exposure to chlorine.

Galle described her symptoms, saying, "A little sore throat, eyes burning, you come out here it's so hot, you dont know if it's heat related."

Crews worked into the early evening cleaning up the spill and ventilating the building. It's a situation the CEO of the company says could have been much worse.

Terry Bolz, president and CEO of Unity Health Insurance, says, "We were just concerned about our people, that's the only thing that matters."

Ironically, United employees say that hospital employees had just had disaster recovery training on Monday. The business itself also had evacuation plans in place.

Work will resume as usual for employees Thursday.

Firecrews are still investigating what caused the spill. Police believed it could have been mechanical, but crews are still investigating whether it was mechanical or human error.


UPDATE (WKOW) --- Sauk Prairie Memorial says they treated and released 38 patients from the chemical spill.

Patients were treated for respiratory symptoms and burning eyes as a result of exposure to fumes from a chlorine-based cleaning solution.

The lockdown has ended.


UPDATE (WKOW) ---  Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital is currently in lockdown mode as they respond to the chemical spill.

According to their website, only affected patients and medical personnel will be allowed in the building.

Family members of those affected are being asked to go to St. John's Evangelical Church at 100 Oak Street in Prairie du Sac to check on their family member's status.

Stay tuned to WKOWTV.COM and 27 NEWS at 5, 6, and 6:30 for the latest information.


SAUK CITY (WKOW) -- Emergency crews are on the scene of a chemical spill at Unity Health Insurance in Sauk City Wednesday afternoon.

Fire crews are working together to clean up the spill, which was likely a chlorine-based chemical.  Hazmat crews were not present at 2 pm.

More than 140 employees were evacuated and at least five people were taken to the hospital.

No other businesses or properties were affected.

We have a 27 News on the scene and will bring you updates here on our web channel and tonight on 27 News beginning at 5, as they become available.


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