Newark man, 56, dies after being exposed to chemicals at Carlstadt paint plant

By Dan Ivers/ 

CARLSTADT — A 56-year-old Newark man died after being exposed to chemicals at the Carlstadt paint plant where he worked Wednesday.

Henry Campbell, 56, was found on top of a storage tankcontaining the chemical Toluene at the Hartin Paint & Filler Corporation at around 3:58 p.m., according to Det. John Cleary of the Carlstadt police.

Campbell was unresponsive, and was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Kalifi Thomas, a fellow plant employee from Elizabeth, had moved Campbell after finding him on top of the tank, and was also exposed to the chemical as a result, Cleary said. He was also taken to the hospital.

Several medical responders with the Carlstadt Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Hackensack University Medical Center also had to undergo decontamination after being exposed to Campbell.

The Bergen County Hazmat Team and the state's chapter of OSHA each responded to the Broad Street plant on Wednesday, and Cleary said the Department of Environmental Protecton has also been notified.

OSHA spokesperson Leni Fortson said the agency launched an investigation into the incident yesterday, and will have six months to compile and release its findings.

Hartin Paint has been cited for safety violations in the past, she added, most recently in 2007. Four of those violations were deemed serious in nature, while another four were classified as "other than serious", Fortson said.

The company was initially fined $3,000, but eventually entered into a settlement that allowed it to pay $1,350.

A woman who answered the phone at Hartin Paint this morning said the company would have no immediate comment.

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