The Danville Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team was called to respond to an incident at the water treatment plant in South Hill, VA, on April 2nd just after 10 a.m. The team responded with 14 members, two hazmat vehicles, and a staff vehicle to a release of a toxic substance due to an accidental mixing of products that resulted in a vapor cloud of hydrochloric acid and hydrofluoric acid.
When the team arrived on scene, it was found that some 11 people, 8 of which were local firefighters, had been taken to the local hospital for issues related to the exposure to the gases. The DRHM Response Team worked with the local emergency services units (fire, EMS and emergency management), facility personnel, and the supplier of the product being delivered to evaluate the conditions and to stabilize the situation.
An additional 7 people were reported to have been treated or transported for evaluation to the local hospital for effects that were the result of earlier exposure. No injuries were reported by Hazmat personnel entering the facility. The materials were allowed to dissipate, and the team assisted with the ventilation of the facility. Residents in the immediate vicinity were asked to leave their homes until the vapors had dissipated. There were no further reports of injuries. There was no information as to the number of residents affected or when they were allowed back into their homes by local authorities.
The Danville team returned to Danville just after 9:30 PM.
Steve R. Dishman
Hazardous Materials Coordinator