Worker exposed to dangerous chemical at Memphis Zoo

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- There was a scary situation at the Memphis Zoo Thursday afternoon. The fire department was called after a zoo worker had a bad reaction to a chemical while cleaning.

Laura Doty with the zoo said the employee was cleaning the Life Source building, which houses the zoo's heating and cooling systems, when he was exposed to a chemical called ozone. She says he opened a valve to clean it, and a pocket of ozone came out.

The Environmental Protection Agency describes bad ozone as a gas that smells like chlorine. The source is often emissions from industrial facilities or cars, and it can cause respiratory issues.

Doty said the man was transported to the hospital, just to be safe. His situation is not critical.

The zoo never closed, and Doty wants to make sure visitors know they are safe. She said the incident was confined to a part of the zoo that only employees go to.

She was not sure whether the building had to be decontaminated, but said, as far as she knows, it is now safe.