Seventy-one dogs stranded at the Canine Adoption Rescue League (CARL) center in Santa Paula after a vacuum truck explosion rocked a nearby waste water facility on the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 18, were found in good condition the next day. Safety officials had ordered a mandatory evacuation after the explosion sent dozens of people to area hospitals.
CARL President Sharon Clark says that she and volunteers were not being allowed onto the premises to evacuate the dogs on site on Tuesday evening after the kennel’s caretaker was taken to the hospital after developing respiratory problems.
A mandatory evacuation was issued for all residents within a one-mile radius of 815 Mission Rock Road, the address of the Santa Clara Waste Water facility, after a type of organic peroxide spilled, following an explosion. CARL is located at 901 Mission Rock Road. The highly flammable chemicals caused several explosions throughout the day and a snow-like cloud of highly volatile chemicals falling over the area.
"They’re saying its too dangerous for humans to go in there; we’re saying it’s too dangerous for the dogs," said Clark.
Late Tuesday afternoon, two veterinarians were allowed into the facility to check on the well being of the dogs. After checking on the animals’ state, CARL released a statement via Facebook saying that “all the dogs are good,” and requested donations for care items such as blankets and dog food.
One dog in particular by the name of Brandi was evacuated from the premises showing signs of irritation around the eyes, but checked out fine by a veterinarian.
The explosion sent 44 people to area hospitals for treatment after developing respiratory problems or as a result of the explosion. All but one had been released by Tuesday afternoon. First responders on the scene reported stepping in the chemical in rubber boots only to have the boots combust. The 126 freeway was closed for much of the day and reopened Tuesday afternoon in both directions.
As of Wednesday morning, the exact cause of the explosion and the type of chemical that was spilled is still unknown but an official with environmental health said it may have been something thrown in a Porta Potty that caused a thermogenic reaction.