MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - There are renewed fears in a southwest Memphis neighborhood after a deadly accident at the Memphis Valero plant.
"That's crazy, it just makes me wonder what the world is coming to," said Cassey Ivery, as she walked with her 5-year-old son near the refinery.
Ivery lives near the refinery and saw the fire trucks racing towards it on Monday morning.
"I can see it from my house, plain as day," she said.
Valero says an employee and a contractor came in contact with a dangerous substance.
"At approximately 8:45 a.m., the Valero Memphis Refinery experienced a failure of a small sight glass at the plant's alkylation unit," Bill Day, a Valero spokesman, stated in an email to abc24.com.
"One Valero employee and one contractor were transported to the hospital. Unfortunately, the Valero employee died at the hospital at about 10:30 a.m." said Day.
A Memphis Fire Department spokesman said the two came in contact with a mixture of propane and hydrofluoric acid.
Two firefighters were also transported to the hospital. They're expected to be okay
For residents who live around the refinery, there have long been worries about a hydrofluoric acid release.
Hydrofluoric acid is used to improve octane in gas, but it is also considered one of the most dangerous chemicals on earth. In humans, it attacks lung tissue and bones.
"We don't know what we are breathing in, I can get sick any day and not know what is wrong with me and die," Ivery said.
According to Day, "There was no expected environmental impact to neighboring communities from this incident, and refinery operations have not been affected."
"There was no explosion and no fire at the plant. The refinery has notified appropriate regulatory agencies. The accident remains under investigation," he added.