Milford Fire Department call response to hazmat incident a ‘team effort’
The training paid off for Milford’s firefighters after responding to a chemical leak at Schick Corporation headquarters.
The Milford Fire Department received a call just before 1 p.m. on Thursday, reporting a chemical leak there.
“It could have been very dangerous. There have been incidents involving anhydrous ammonia throughout the country that have killed people in the past,” Battalion Chief Adam Hansen said. “It’s more of a, ‘let’s slow down, let’s all get on the same page, let’s ensure that we’re entering safely, so that nobody gets hurt or killed.’ We practice how we play.”
Anhydrous ammonia is corrosive and flammable. The team had to collect, dilute, and transport seven gallons of it.
“The driver, he did everything right, and the facilities manager did everything right as well. (The driver) did a walk-around, a 360 of the vehicles to be safe, and that’s when he realized there was a leaking fitting and that the anhydrous ammonia was spilling,” said Hansen.
The process took nearly four hours, and heavy-duty equipment was needed.
“You could actually hear it start to make that reaction inside the cylinder,” said Hansen.
Fire officials called it a team effort between the drivers, employees and fire department to prevent tragedy.
Hansen said the firefighters were wearing a Level A suit, which is the highest level of protection the department has.
“They’re also wearing an SCBA to breathe bottled air, so they’re not breathing in any of the chemicals,” said Hansen.
“It takes a team of guys to really get somebody ready. While he is very protected, his mobility is very reduced. It’s also going to generate a lot of heat inside,” said Lt. Casey Bertollo.
The Milford Fire Department said no one was injured, and there was no need for an evacuation.