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Sodium solution triggered hazmat incident

MERRIMACK – Investigators on Wednesday determined the release of a sodium selenite solution triggered Tuesday’s hazmat incident at the Spraying Systems plant on Daniel Webster Highway.

Employees were in the process of evacuating the building when the crew of Engine 1 arrived, according to Fire Marshal John Manuele. Once everyone evacuated the building, the crew, under the direction of Lt. Jeremy Penerian, began to further investigate the source of the problem while requesting that additional firefighters and medical personnel be dispatched to the scene.

A short time later Nashua Fire Rescue’s hazardous materials vehicle, which entered service about two months ago, arrived, along with ambulances from Merrimack, Nashua, Amherst and Manchester, Manuele said.

Meanwhile, first responders identified 13 people – three exposure cases and 10 possible exposure cases – who would need to be transported to local hospitals.

They went through an on-scene decontamination process, which included removing their contaminated clothing in a heated tent officials installed.

Members of the Nashua-based Regional HazMat Team donned protective suits and formed an entry team, which Manuele said made entry once officials were able to identify the nature of the material and its associated hazards.

That identification process took longer than anticipated, Manuele said, due to the origin of the material.

Once officials had the answers, the entry team was able to enter the building and access the room where the release occurred, Manuele said. They soon determined the release was contained to that room, which crews immediately isolated.

That allowed crews to check the rest of the building, which they determined was safe.

The situation was declared under control around 6:30 p.m., roughly three hours after the first crews arrived. By 7:30 p.m., Manuele said, all emergency personnel had cleared the scene and the building was turned over to the owners.

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256, or at dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.