Fire Department responds to early Thursday morning Chemical Fire

File Photo
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Thursday morning April 14th at 5:25 AM the Fire Department dispatch received a call for a fire at the water production company Seven Seas in Cape Bay.
Two trucks were dispatched at 5:27 AM and arrived at 5:32 AM on the scene, under the leadership of Fire Truck Captain Glen Mac Nack and assistant Captain Joseph Richardson.
Once on the scene these captains gathered more information from workers of NV GEBE power plant and understood that it was a drum with hazardous chemicals, that was on fire.
After analyzing the hazards of the chemicals precautionary measures were taken, as the fumes were highly toxic and one of the chemicals reacts aggressively once in contact with water. This chemical if inhaled can be very dangerous for the lungs, and if it gets in the eyes can also have long lasting effects. Therefore, all operations were carried out above wind, with proper protective gear and from a safe distance.
One person that worked at the location complained of eye and nasal irritation, the ambulance personnel was called and tended to the individual. He was advised by the ambulance team to go home and change his clothing.
In order to stabilize the situation, the drum was cooled by spraying a fog pattern of water avoiding water getting into the drum and preventing contamination of the environment. Once the flames were lowered the firefighters applied a dry chemical extinguishing agent to cover the hazardous chemical to cut off the oxygen and prevent reignition.
The fire was at a storage area where several drums had deteriorated due to long term exposure to the weather. A representative of the company came to the scene and was advised to have the drums removed as they are hazardous to the surrounding environment.
The Ministry of VROMI was also informed. The company has started action to properly dispose of the chemicals under the supervision of Inspectorate VROMI.
At 6:27 AM the situation was stabilized, and the Fire Department units returned at 6:45 AM to the Fire Station in Cay Hill. The incident was coordinated by Fire Officer in Charge M. C. Dollison.
The Fire Department can be reached by calling +17215421215, +17215421217, +17215426001 or in case of an emergency 919.