Monday, June 28, 2004

Vending machine emits poison gas
Reuters News Service

An exploding vending machine turned the coolant Freon into phosgene, a poisonous gas used as a chemical weapon in World War I, and forced the evacuation of 10 people from a Texas hospital, officials said Thursday.

A food service employee was working on the refrigerated soft drink machine at the Park Place Medical Center in Port Arthur when a small explosion and fire occurred inside it Wednesday morning, Port Arthur Fire Marshal Mark Mulliner said.

"When Freon gas from the cooling system came into contact with the heat from the fire, it changed composition to a phosgene gas," Mulliner said.

Phosgene irritates the lungs, eyes, mouth and nose and, in strong enough concentrations, causes fatal amounts of fluid to build up in the lungs.

I'm so glad I don't have airconditioning at home. Article is taken from the Houston Chronicle.

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