MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Just before 12:00 Noon today businesses and a nearby Fire/EMS Station heard what sounded like an explosion. Shortly thereafter firefighters and medics were alerted to an injured person at a warehouse in the 8000 block of Penn Randall Place in Forestville. This is a warehouse industrial complex located to the rear of the Forestville Fire/EMS Station.
It appears a chemical delivery truck arrived at a power washing company to deliver Sodium Hypochlorite. This chemical is described as a highly concentrated bleach that is used as a cleaning agent and in commercial swimming pools. The driver started to fill a 55-gallon drum that apparently had not been cleaned entirely of its previous acid based product. A violent chemical reaction between the acid residue and Hypochlorite occurred causing the drum to explode, injuring the driver and spewing chemicals about the warehouse.
First arriving firefighters donned complete personal protective gear including their self-contained breathing apparatus and entered the warehouse to remove the victim. The driver, a 50 year old male, sustained a serious leg injury including deep cuts and thermal burns. The male was treated for his injuries, decontaminated and transported by medics to a Burn Unit. His condition was "serious."
Four people were inside the warehouse when this occurred. They went to help the driver and came in contact with the chemical product. They were experiencing symptoms typical of exposure to the bleach product including difficulty breathing and being light headed, These four were also decontaminated and transported to a local hospital for treatment.
All firefighters that came into contact with the chemical and victims and haz-mat personnel had to be decontainamated as well.
The Fire/EMS Department Hazardous Materials Team arrived and examined the interior of the warehouse and searched for the cause of such a violent reaction. They ensured ventilation of the warehouse and a clean-up of the product.
The majority of Fire/EMS and Haz-Mat Units were cleared by about 4:00 pm.
Firefighters are decontaminated after effecting the removal of a seriously injured person
|The chemical delivery truck sits in front of warehouse where a delivery was being made|
|The Department's Haz-Mat Coordinator Craig Black meets with team leaders to discuss next course of action|
|Haz-Mat Coordinator examines 55-gallon drum that exploded from the pressure of the chemical reaction|
|Note the victims blue jeans in the background that turned white from the bleach|