Fire fighters leave chemical spill site

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:42 22/01/2014
Warwick Smith / Fairfax NZ

Chemical spill at Ilford Place, Palmerston North. Emergency services were alerted to the spill after the 6.2 earthquake struck the city. Manawatu Assistant Area Commander Rodger Calder speaks.

Chemical
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ
SEND HELP: A young neighbour watches on from near the chemical spill.

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Firefighters have left the scene of a chemical spill caused by Monday's earthquake and handed control of the "contaminated site" to Palmerston North City Council.

Fire service Manawatu Assistant Area Commander Rodger Calder said firefighters had removed a number of chemicals from the property at Ilford Pl in Awapuni.

These were the most likely candidates to cause the fumes in the garage that sent three people to hospital after Monday's 6.2 magnitude tremor.

The trio suffered irritation of their eyes and throats after entering the garage on Monday evening.

Firefighters were called to the scene where they cordoned off the building.

They spent yesterday at the scene too after finding what Mr Calder called unexpected readings at the garage.

Mr Calder said he was still unsure what had caused the problems on Monday.

The garage contained numerous gardening chemicals, some of which were not labelled.

Council environmental health officers were now working with the property owners and their insurance company, Mr Calder said.

The building had been classed as contaminated and the chemicals within it were to be disposed of, he said.

"There are a lot of chemicals in the building that need to be disposed of.

"There were a number of issues in the garage, some may have been historic and stirred up by the earthquake, others were caused by the earthquake."

Mr Calder said the garage was more like a farm shed and its elderly owner was not certain what chemicals were stored there.

"It was an accumulation of years of gardening stuff and years of other activities.

"There were various types and brands, some not even in properly named containers."

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- Manawatu Standard

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