JAY — Four contractors at the Verso Androscoggin Mill were taken to a hospital and employees working on paper machines left the mill Wednesday morning after a valve was left open allowing chlorine dioxide gas to be released.

Company spokeswoman Kathi Rowzie said the gas was detected by sensors and the four contractors were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

“No one was injured,” according to Rowzie, who said employees left the mill at about 9:30 a.m.

The leak occurred when the valve that was left open as the mill was making a normal transition from unbleached to bleached paper grades on the paper machines, Rowzie wrote in an email. The valve was immediately closed, the air in the mill was tested and determined to be clear and employees returned to work, according to Rowzie.

Farmington Fire Rescue Department was on standby at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington in case anyone needed to be decontaminated, according to Fire Department Capt. Tim “TD” Hardy. He said no one required decontamination.

Hardy’s father, Tim Hardy, director of Franklin County Emergency Management Agency, said he went to the hospital and communicated with mill officials and Mike Senecal, the emergency preparedness coordinator at FMH.  

Hardy said he wanted to make sure they had necessary information, including how many people to expect at the hospital, what happened and if they were displaying any symptoms.

Hardy confirmed there were four people brought to hospital.

Hardy said he will submit an incident report by Friday, which is standard protocol at the mill.

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Four contractors at the Verso Androscoggin Mill were taken to a hospital and employees were evacuated Wednesday morning after a valve was left open allowing chlorine dioxide gas to be released. (Morning Sentinel file photo)