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Budget cuts impact resources for major hazmat incident in South Sacramento

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Sacramento, CA | A level 3 Hazmat situation shuts down a large industrial area in South Sacramento. Budget weakend hazmat team has to reach out with unusual mutual aid requests. 

Wednesday morning, the Sacramento City Fire Department was called to Mike and Sons Inc, in the 8500 block of Elder Creek Road, for a commercial trailer fire. When firefighters arrived “they realized the doors were shut and there was a very pungent odor; so they turned this into a level three hazmat which is the highest level of hazmat response that we have”, Niko King, Assistant Chief for Sacramento City Fire Department stated.

As things progressed, they contacted the shipper and the property owner discovering that there were over forty household products in the trailer, King stated. “For some unknown reason, something happened in there and there was a chemical reaction taking place.”

Evacuations began immediately. King stated that as a result of the off-gassing of the product and wind direction, over fifty-five business were evacuated which equated to 520 people. Reverse 911 was utilized to assist with the evacuations. Traffic was backed up all the way down Young Creek Drive as area workers vacated the industrial park. King stated that the evacuation was in place for about four hours. King also stated that a seven digit hotline was put in place to update evacuees and let them know when they could return to their businesses.

One person, who reportedly inhaled a good amount of the vapors, was transported to the hospital via paramedics.

Large fire suppression lines were put in place in the event they had to fight fire, and measures were taken to protect storm drains from potential contaminated water runoff as a result of firefighting efforts.

“What’s unique about this, Sacramento Fire department just experienced some budget cuts; it cut our hazmat team right in half,” King stated sternly. “…so, we had mutual aid resources from Metro Fire, Hazmat 109 come in. And what was really unique, we had to reach out and get Roseville’s hazmat team to come into the City of Sacramento to assist in mitigating this incident.”

It was finally determined that the substance was some sort of refrigerant oil. The assumption is that due to the warm rising temperature in the trailer, the container of product exploded then mixing with other materials in the trailer.

Many agencies responded to this incident to assist Sacramento City Fire, such as: Sacramento Metro Fire, Roseville Fire, and CERT to name a few. The Red Cross also responded with their Disaster Relief unit.

King stated that all the hazards had been mitigated and the incident would be turned back over to the shipping company.

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