Valley Fig Growers worker uninjured after exposure to chlorine gas while moving tank

One worker at Valley Fig Growers was exposed to chlorine gas Monday while attempting to move an old 120-pound tank, according to the Fresno Fire Department.

The worker was exposed briefly but was not showing symptoms of chlorine poisoning, said Fresno Fire spokesman Pete Martinez. Inhaling chlorine gas can lead to death.

Martinez said 13 workers were evacuated from the building at 2028 S. 3rd St. Firefighters entered Monday afternoon in hazmat suits to investigate how the tank valve opened.

Firefighters blocked off streets near the facility, including California and Hamilton avenues and Third Street.

Valley Fig Growers previously used to inject water with chlorine gas to clean their fruit, Martinez said. They now use regular water from the city, he said, and haven’t used the chlorine tank in many years.

The exposed worker was attempting to move the gas tank out of the facility when it opened up. Martinez didn’t know whether the valve opened or broke off somehow.