Erie Fire Department Speaks Out on Chemical Leak
After Monday night's chemical leak that shut down a section of West 12th Street, the City of Erie Fire Department is speaking out about how they respond to chemical spills.
Usually, the crew gathers as much information from the 911 Center as possible before getting to the scene. Then, they find a representative of the company responsible for the chemicals to learn what they're dealing with.
"We work hand in hand with them," Fire Chief Guy Santone said, "We do what we're trained, in they do what they're trained in, and we can rectify that situation almost 100% of the time."
However, emergency crews were unable to stop the chemical leak Monday night because they were unable to locate the turn-off valve for the leaking tank.
"The end result was we had to let it bleed out there was 8,500 pounds of liquid nitrogen that we had to let go out into the atmosphere," Santone said. When asked about the environmental effects the leak could have, he said it would be minimal to none.
The City of Erie Fire Department is now requesting photos of the exact location where the turn-off valves are. Santone told Erie News Now they're looking into asking other companies in the city to do the same.
There are various precautions already in place to help emergency crews respond to chemical spills quickly and safely. "All the companies within the city limits," Santone said, "They give us a list of all the chemicals that they have on hand at that particular time and we keep that in file so we know what businesses have what."
Each firefighter for the City of Erie is trained to deal with hazardous materials shortly after starting the job. They're also given a book on hazardous materials that describes what the chemical is, potential health and environmental risks, and how to take care of the spill.