Flagstaff Fire Dept Responds to HAZMAT Spill Thursday

July 15th, 2016 at 9:45 AM

At approximately 1300 hours yesterday, the FFD responded one Battalion Chief, three engines, one quint, and the hazardous materials special operations truck to a self-storage complex in east Flagstaff.  First arriving units found a semi-truck that had been unloading a pallet of chemicals when the pallet fell over and spilled approximately 25 gallons of unknown chemicals on the ground.  The area was cordoned off by the FFD and FPD to provide for public and first responder safety as the incident unfolded.

Photo courtesy of Flagstaff Fire Department.
Photo courtesy of Flagstaff Fire Department.

Two of the FFD’s Hazardous Materials Technicians on scene donned personal protective gear and went to the accident site to first identify what type of chemicals were involved, and what could be done to remedy the situation safely.  Additional personnel on scene began research and identification work, along with setting up an emergency decontamination site, should something go awry.  Safety data sheets were located in the semi-truck and our technicians were able to devise a plan to safely mitigate the chemicals in a manner that provided for public and environmental safety.  Using a heavy-duty absorbent specially formulated for hazardous materials, the leaking was contained and controlled, the spill was cleaned, the material was disposed of properly, and the scene was turned over to the business owners without incident.

The FFD has a Special Operations team in place for incidents just like this one.  Currently, we have 18 dual certified hazardous materials and technical rescue technicians that are specially trained to respond to calls like these. Although these incidents are historically low in frequency, they are high in severity.  Hazardous materials pass through and are used in Flagstaff on a daily basis by several different means.  While control measures are in place to prevent such incidents, there is still the possibility of accidents.  Therefore, the FFD is always ready to respond at a moment’s notice.  Stay safe.

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