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Brazil explosion unleashes toxic gas cloud across Sao Paolo port

18 January 2016

A chemical explosion and fire at a cargo warehouse in the port of Santos in Sao Paulo state caused a toxic gas cloud to form over the city. Over two hundred were taken to hospital with breathing difficulties according to the city mayor and the cargo terminal and nearby homes were evacuated and residents asked to stay inside.

Stock image
Stock image

The container terminal was operated by logistics company Localfrio in Guaruja, on the eastern side of Santos. A spokeswoman for the company, which exports chemicals used for refrigeration and general cargo, said 12 containers filled with chloric acid and sodium dichloroisocyanurate - a cleaning and disinfectant agent – had caught fire and leaked gas.

Firefighters said rainwater had seeped into the containers causing a chemical reaction.

Mayor Mario Antonieta de Brito asked people to stay out of the rain which could "contain chemical elements that can burn the skin".

The injured people have received medical care and are not at risk.

Last year, a large fire in Santos took a week to extinguish and the water used to put out the fire ended up in a nearby river, killing thousands of fish.

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