One firefighter and six other people will remain overnight at Vista Medical Center in Waukegan. All seven needed help breathing.
Antonio Ellis said his father-in-law is, “heavily sedated with a breathing tube down his throat”.
“I’m not going to say it doesn’t look good but at the same time, I asked them how he was going to be and they said, ‘I don’t know’. That’s not the response I was looking for,” Ellis said.
Dr. Kenji Oyasu, the hospital’s medical director, said time will tell if patients will have long-term effects.
“The issue with inhalation injuries like this is it’s a chemical burn which is going to cause cause a lot of inflammation to the vocal chords in the upper airway. You can occlude and lose your airway. That’s what’s going to cause death,” Oyasu said.
Non-critical victims complained of similar symptoms.
“It was filling up my lungs and I was suffocating. My eyes were watering,” one woman said.
Silvia Cruz believes she was exposed to the ammonia while driving with her two young boys.
“I just started feeling dizzy and my throat was kind of closing,” Cruz said.
Although emergency physician Dr. Kelly Wren says there’s no danger now in the area where the spill happened, Cruz says she won’t risk it.