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TVF&R

Posted on: February 14, 2017

Firefighters Respond to Possible Exposure at Tualatin Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturing Facility

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Just before 4 a.m. this morning, TVF&R’s Hazardous Materials Team, along with firefighters and medical units at nearby stations were dispatched to a possible chemical exposure at Lam Research in Tualatin. Several employees had noticed they simultaneously started reporting cold-like symptoms, which instigated the call to 911. 

Upon the firefighter’s arrival, Lam Research’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) had already evacuated the 100 employees that were in the building working. Firefighters evaluated six employees and had them transported to local area hospitals as a precaution for further evaluation and treatment. Remaining employees were moved into another building on campus and closely monitored in the event anyone else started reporting similar symptoms. 

The Hazardous Materials Team entered the building to monitor air quality and determine the source of the possible exposure. After their investigation, they confirmed that the workers were not exposed to a toxic chemical. All six patients were released from the hospital within a few hours of their admission. 

Both the Fire Department and Lam validated that oxygen levels on all floors and work spaces were at safe levels. Following the incident, Lam also validated that all equipment was running within specifications at the time of the incident. The company has received independent reports of a strong sulfur smell external to the facility. Since the air source of the room’s ventilation is external, the company is currently identifying the external smell as the likely cause of employee discomfort. Lam has confirmed that the odor is not coming from their facility and is currently working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to investigate the source of the smell.  

Battalion Chief Dan Griffin stated that “staff at Lam Research followed exact protocols for a possible chemical exposure based on the quick onset of symptoms of multiple workers in the same vicinity. They performed a well-orchestrated evacuation of personnel and contacted 911 in a timely manner. The organized evacuation and assistance their ERT provided to our crews allowed us to quickly respond in order to narrow down a possible cause. The ERT holds regular training drills for instances similar to this and it was reflected in how well today’s incident played out. While fortunately it was not a toxic chemical exposure, it is critical to take all precautions to ensure the safety of the workers, facility and surrounding community.”
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