Intel officials say they have pinpointed the source of a gas leak at the company's plant in Chandler over the weekend, but they have yet to determine what caused it.
Intel spokesman Jason Bagley said Monday the leak was traced to a fitting on the exhaust system of one of the plant's high-tech tools.
The nitrogen gas leak affected at least 43 staffers. Twelve were taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons, said Chandler Fire Department Battalion Chief Tom Dwiggins.
Those who were transported to a local care facility complained of eye and skin irritations and shortness of breath, he said.
The leak was isolated and occurred in the exhaust system of one production tool in the sub fab area of Fab 32 at its Ocotillo facility in Chandler, according to Intel spokeswoman Rachel Sutherland.
Sutherland said the leak occurred in Fab 32, a building that produces latest technologies. It was not in any area involved in the manufacturing processes. The leak was confined to a room below where microprocessors are made.
Fire authorities stopped short of evacuating nearby neighborhoods.
"After meeting with the command staff, we stopped the leak, and there's no concern for [residents in surrounding] neighborhoods," Dwiggins said.
Fire crews from Chandler, Sun Lakes and Phoenix helped Intel emergency officials locate the leak, Dwiggins said.
According to the company's website, Fab 32 is a high-volume 45nm chip factory. The building, a $3 billion investment, measures 1 million square feet, roughly the size of 17 U.S. football fields, with 184,000 square feet of clean room space, which is about equal to the size of three U.S. football fields.
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