Local News

Chemical spill prompts building evacuation

Posted October 1, 2008 12:27 p.m. EDT
Updated October 1, 2008 6:26 p.m. EDT

— A chemical spill at a Waste Management Inc. storage building Wednesday morning prompted Wake County emergency officials to evacuate an office building near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Authorities were called to the Waste Management facility at 10411 Globe Road at about 11:30 a.m. There were no reports of injuries, and the evacuation was a precaution, emergency officials said.

Men cleaning an adjacent storage building moved a 55-gallon drum of muriatic acid, an industrial-strength form of hydrochloric acid, when the drum tipped, said Jeffrey Hammerstein, district chief for Wake County Emergency Medical Services. An estimated 30 to 45 gallons of the acid spilled, he said.

Fumes and a foul odor filled the air, witnesses said.

Firefighters and a hazardous materials crew responded to the spill, and they evacuated the storage building and an adjacent office building. Workers inside Waste Management's offices were told to remain indoors.

The hazmat team spread lime on the spill to neutralize it.

"After about 30 minutes, it was deemed for them to be safe, so they returned," Hammerstein said.

The Waste Management operation typically doesn't handle hazardous materials, and investigators were trying to determine if the company had the proper permits to store the acid.