Chemical leak in Brockville now resolved, says fire marshal

·2 min read
Chemical leak in Brockville now resolved, says fire marshal
Chemical leak in Brockville now resolved, says fire marshal

The chemical leak incident at 3M research and development site in Brockville, Ont., is resolved, according to the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal.

The Office of the Fire Marshal said it learned of the leak Wednesday morning. Hazmat teams were on scene.

In a tweet Wednesday night, the office said the hazardous material call "has been successfully resolved."

Aman Kainth, a spokesperson for the Office of the Fire Marshal, said the building had been evacuated. One firefighter and one other person suffered minor injuries as a result of the leak, she said.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Kainth said preliminary information from the scene indicated it was an ammonia leak, but Brockville Fire Chief David Lazenby said crews were working to determine the source and substance of the leak.

Matthew Kupfer/CBC
Matthew Kupfer/CBC

"There are a number of products stored on site and so it's too early to determine as yet what product it is that actually leaked," he said. "It seems to be emanating from a kind of a storage area."

He said firefighters responded to the facility after an employee noticed an odour and pulled an alarm. The building was evacuated and everyone accounted for, he said.

One business, downwind of the site was also evacuated out of an abundance of caution, but it's not believed the chemical escaped the building, he said.

Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) received a call just after 11 a.m. to send a hazmat team and dispatched shortly thereafter, OFS public information officer Carson Tharris told CBC.

Matthew Kupfer/CBC
Matthew Kupfer/CBC

The team has specialized equipment and training and is called in whenever a local fire department can't handle a spill on its own, Tharris said.

Fatal if inhaled

While it's still unclear if the chemical is in fact ammonia, as was first reported to CBC, ammonia can be fatal if inhaled.

According to 3M Canada, ammonia, which primarily exists as a gas but can also exist as a pressurized liquid, can be used in refrigeration systems, as well as ice, food and beverage manufacturing.

The gas was determined to be the cause of death for three arena workers in Fernie, B.C., three years ago.

The plant is north of the Brockville's downtown and Highway 401. Waltham Road is closed between Crocker Crescent and California Avenue. People are asked to avoid the area.

A team from the Office of the Fire Marshal is on the way and is expected to arrive by late Wednesday afternoon to conduct an investigation, said Kainth.