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Toxic cloud descends on German neighbourhood

A sulfuric acid spill at a local chemical company caused the cloud, forcing residents into lockdown and halting public transit



BERLIN—Sulfuric acid spilled from a tank belonging to a chemical company in the western city of Oberhausen and turned into a toxic cloud, causing breathing problems for about 150 people in the area.

Oberhausen firefighters treated most people on the scene in the morning hours of Feb. 16. Four people had to be taken to the hospital.

Firefighters’ spokesman Joerg Preussner said that most people had only light breathing troubles, but that everyone in the area had been asked to stay inside and close the windows.

Bus lines were stopped and a highway exit was closed to keep people away from the area.

Preussner said it was not yet clear why or how the sulfuric acid had spilled out of a tank, but that firefighters had been successfully fighting the cloud with water mist.

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