Chemical leak in central Wellington

04:50, Nov 09 2012
haz std
SUIT UP: Emergency services workers put on protective suits before entering the Base backpackers.

A hazardous gas leak forced the evacuation of hundreds of people from a building on Cambridge Tce today.

Wellington City Fire Station's senior station officer, Paul Lyall, said a refrigerant gas had leaked from a valve inside the former Telecom phone exchange building, which now houses a backpackers.

A technician met fire fighters outside the building about 4pm and said there had been a valve failure on the fourth floor, he said.

‘‘From the information we received, we upgraded it to a hazardous substance situation.’’

Fire fighters in chemical protection suits inspected the building and found the gas was not flammable, Mr Lyall said.

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One person who inhaled a small amount of the gas was assessed on site by paramedics.

The Fire Service was in the process of scaling back its operation and ventilating the building by about 5.15pm, R Lyall said.

The Dominion Post