At approximately 7:26pm on Thursday night, October 4th Terrytown Fifth District Volunteer Fire Department conducted a mock chemical leak training scenario. The training scenario was to test how firefighters would be able to handle a chemical leak at a water plant with various unexpected obstacles occurring.
The training scenario started out with a caller reporting a vapor cloud of unknown quaintly and unknown substance at a water treatment plant. Once arriving on scene firefighters confirm there is a chemical leak after spotting the reported vapor cloud, HazMat 1, JPSO, and State Police are then called to the scene to help assist with the incident, JPSO is called to help with traffic control and LSP is the on-scene coordinator for all hazardous material incidents in the state of Louisiana. West Jest EMS is then requested to the scene as a plant worker was found on scene laying on the ground near the vapor cloud near the rear of the plant exit, the plant worker is found to be having difficulties breathing, chest pains, and is unable to move due to effects from the chemical leak. HazMat 1 then reports that they will be delayed in arriving to the scene of the incident as they are being held up by a train in Kenner. A box of unknown chemicals marked with crossbones that says “corrosive” and labeled with the number “9191” ,”inhalation hazard” and “flammable” is located at the scene where the chemical appears to be off gassing from. Wind speed is determined to be at 5 mph out of the east it is then determined that an evacuation zone of a radius of 150 feet should be put in place. West Jeff EMS arrives on scene however they inform firefighters that they are not equipped to handle extracting the plant worked from the chemical leak and request that firefighters go in and extract the plant worker and bring him to them a decontamination zone is then setup. The chemical is identified to be “CHLORINE DIOXIDE” which is used in the disinfection of drinking water. Firefighters then go in with positive pressure respirators and their bunker gear to inspect and extract the plant worker, firefighters extract the plant worker and bring him to the decon zone. Both firefighters and the plant worker need to be decontaminated as their clothing could catch fire as a result the chemical drying on their clothing their skin is also rinsed for twenty minutes to ensure all chemicals are removed. Once safely decontaminated the victim is then transferred to West Jeff EMS to be transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries. Firefighters then secure the area to let the chemical safety finish off gassing, keeping everyone at least 150 feet away from the hot zone and making sure everyone is accounted for.
The entire training scenario lasted for approximately 1 hour, you can listen below to scanner audio as firefighters were conducting the training scenario.