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    12 Firefighters hurt battling R.I. chemical fire released from hospital

    Twelve firefighters hospitalized after battling a Cranston, R.I. chemical fire on Monday were released shortly after midnight Tuesday and are expected to be okay, the fire chief said.

    Some firefighters were evaluated for cyanide poisoning after they had trouble breathing and developed a metal taste in their mouth, said Fire Deputy Chief Paul Valletta, but all the tests came back negative. None of them suffered serious injuries, said Fire Chief Bill McKenna.

    The three-alarm fire at 1420 Elmwood Ave. started around 5 p.m Tuesday inside Prosys Finishing Technologies, a business that specializes in metal finishing and cleaning products, authorities said. The building, which is expected to be restored to full condition, is also home to a jewelry company called Gem-Craft, Inc., McKenna said.

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    Valletta said firefighters were not aware of the chemical hazard when they arrived at the scene. Firefighters inside the building began to feel a burning sensation in their gloves and boots and noticed that water from the sprinklers was very slippery.

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    “Because it was a [hazardous materials] incident, the fire was extinguished quickly and controlled in about 30 minutes,” McKenna said.

    Valletta said about 25 chemicals were discovered inside the building, including cyanide and sulfuric acid.

    “We’re currently waiting for a cleanup company to get in the building, and then we’ll determine the cause of the fire,” McKenna said.

    Elise Takahama can be reached at elise.takahama@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @elisetakahama.