Fumes kill Blommer worker in Chicago chocolate plant
August 7, 2008
Gerardo Castillo, a 30-year-old employee of the Blommer Chocolate Co., died on June 8 when overcome by fumes at the company’s chocolate processing facility in Chicago. The accident occurred in the plant’s alkalized cocoa processing area. “Although media reports attributed the cause to ammonia gas inhalation, the actual cause is not yet known,” said Peter Blommer, the company’s chief operating officer. Two other workers were also affected by the fumes, but both were hospitalized and subsequently released with no ill effects. Peter Blommer expressed sadness over Castillo’s death and said the company was “cooperating with various authorities and experts in the investigation of the cause of this incident.” Regulatory authorities had inspected the plant after the incident and proclaimed the facility safe to resume normal operations and shipments, he added. The alkalized cocoa department will, however, remain closed until the conclusion of the investigation.