Chemical Spill forces Evacuation

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 @ 01:11 PM gHale

A serious chemical spill at Arc Technologies in Amesbury, MA, shut down several roads in the area and firefighters had to deal with a dangerous chemical that can cause an explosion.

A 55-gallon drum of heptane spilled within a contained room at the company’s facility, which produces sophisticated microwave absorbing materials. The spill occurred at 11 a.m., said Amesbury Fire Department officials.

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About six residents who live nearby ended up evacuated to the senior center. Also, kindergarten buses ended up delayed and rerouted around the area.

Heptane is a solvent commonly used in manufacturing processes. However it is extremely flammable, and a spill can result in an explosive fire if the fumes are set off by heat or electricity. The vapors can also cause health problems such as irritated skin and eyes.

As a part of the safety plan, the fire department shut down streets around the building. Several fire departments have responded to the scene, as well as hazardous waste disposal teams. The explosive nature of spilled heptane typically results in establishing a large containment area in order to protect the public.

The neighborhood where the spill occurred is a mostly industrial area consisting of several brick carriage-era mill buildings, on the far eastern edge of the downtown. There is also a densely-populated neighborhood surrounding the industrial area, consisting of dozens of single family homes and apartment buildings.



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