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Report that parked car may contain hazardous materials turns out to be unfounded

By Dean Shalhoup - Senior Staff Reporter | Sep 15, 2022

(Telegraph photo by DEAN SHALHOUP) Firefighters set up traffic cones to close East Pearl Street between Cottage and Spring streets while crews dealt with a possible hazmat situation involving a vehicle parked behind the apartment building at left.

NASHUA — The possibility that a car parked in a lot near the corner of East Pearl and Spring streets contained hazardous materials drew firefighters, police and medical personnel to the area shortly before noon Wednesday, but following a brief investigation it was determined no hazards existed.

Nashua Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Kevin Kerrigan said first responders were called to 50 East Pearl St., a senior residence known as the Mary Sweeney Home, by someone who believed that her residence, as well as the car, a late-model blue Toyota, had some type of chemicals inside.

Engine 4 from the East Hollis Street station was initially dispatched to 50 East Pearl St. for an investigation, but based on the caller’s report that hazardous materials were present, an additional engine, a ladder truck and the department’s specially equipped hazmat vehicle were called to the scene.

Crews closed East Pearl Street between Cottage and Spring streets as a precaution. The lot in which the Toyota was parked is off East Pearl Street and behind a large apartment building with a restaurant on the first floor.

As police, firefighters and medical personnel set up a staging area on the north side of Hillsborough County Superior Court South, two firefighters approached the vehicle wearing full protective gear as a precaution.

(Telegraph photo by DEAN SHALHOUP) Two firefighters in full hazmat gear inspect the blue Toyota after the department received a call reporting a possible hazardous materials situation involving the car. It didn't appear anything was found.

They checked the vehicle from the outside then searched the inside, but nothing was found.

The small crowd that had gathered to watch disbursed, the street was reopened and firefighters and medical personnel gathered their gear and prepared to clear the scene.

While there was no evidence beyond the caller’s report to indicate the presence of hazardous materials, Kerrigan said the situation still needed to be addressed.

“The only safe way to deal with something like this is to check it out,” he said. “The only way to meter it is to go in with suits,” he added, referring to chemical-detection meters and the protective gear.

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


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