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Firefighter Injured During Hazmat Incident

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Monday, August 9, 2010

A chemical leak in North Wichita evacuates a local business. It happened at Millenia Productions in the 3200 block of North Mead. The business handles a number of chemicals. One of them is called methyl methacrylate, which is used for a number of things including artificial fingernails.

Employees came to work this morning and discovered the compound leaking from the barrels it was being stored in. They called 911. HazMat crews arrived and ordered everyone away from the area and told the neighboring businesses to take some precautions. The chemical has a very strong odor that could be hazardous if too much is inhaled.

"We had them shut down their air handing systems and air conditioners," said Division Chief Carl Cox, Sedgwick County Fire. "Any ventilation systems in their buildings. Essentially what we did was have them shelter in place."

One firefighter was slightly injured when he slipped and fell in the chemical, but we're told he does not have serious injuries and will be OK.

Cox told us they believe the chemical just got too hot and began expanding into a gel much the same way water expands on roadways and causes potholes when it freezes. The gel expanded too much and cracked the containers. It began leaking onto the floor of the dock at the facility and wasn't discovered until the employees showed up for work.


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