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Accidental chemical mix forces evacuations in Richmond

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02 Jan 2013
An accidental combination of two chemicals caused a gaseous hydrogen chloride cloud at the Ace-Heat Treatment Services factory this morning.

Employees of the Murphy Street building and neighbouring factories were quickly evacuated to a safe location and police organised road blocks.

MFB firefighters wearing fully encapsulated suits entered the premises to ascertain the extent of the cloud from the mix of two 25 litre drums (held in a bunded area).  MFB firefighters soon commenced isolating power sources due to the flammability of the gas and then commenced a lengthy process of diluting the product to safe handling levels. 

An MFB Scientific Officer was on scene to provide specialist advice.

Whilst the incident took one-and-a-half hours to bring under control, the continued monitoring, dilution and removal of the product will continue for some hours.

No injuries were reported, however Ambulance Victoria assessed the four employees from the factory and none were transported to hospital. Representatives from the  EPA and Worksafe  also attended the scene.

Ten MFB appliances attended the HAZMAT incident, with approximately 30 firefighters on scene.

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