This was not your typical apartment full of unlabeled chemicals. All too frequently, police stumble on makeshift drug labs which place innocent neighbors at serious risk. Getting them cleaned up is tricky business but the pros are prepared. What first responders stumbled on in Marlborough, Massachusetts turned out to be so extreme that, days later, the Hazmat crews aren’t even sure what they disposed of.
Condo condemned for chemicals
The latest update, issued Thursday, September 8, confirms “one unit in the building being condemned by the health department” because of toxic chemicals. The nightmare started for city officials and building residents alike on Tuesday. A seemingly routine call came in of a man on the third floor of a condo complex with a medical issue.
After calling 911, the patient was transported to the hospital. While at the scene, the EMT’s noticed something really troubling.
What they saw was another unit in the complex “full of unlabeled chemicals, some out in the open.” Some, but not all, they radioed in to HQ “are in liquid form.” The first Hazmat team arrived “just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, left at midnight and returned early Wednesday.”
PHOTOS: Two day hazmat response in Marlborough for unknown liquids; residents displaced https://t.co/QAi1NWOS1r
— Milford Daily News (@milforddaily) September 7, 2022
Sometime Tuesday, residents were allowed in to pack clothes, fire marshal Peter Ostroskey relates. “They were evacuated and offered rooms until everything is safe.” That might be a while.
The condition of the 30-year-old man transported is unknown at this time. It’s also not known if his ailments are caused by exposure to the toxic chemicals in his vicinity.
By Thursday, the only solid fact anyone can be sure of is that the affected unit has been condemned by the health department.
Materials in various forms
The incident reports give more detail, adding that firefighters noticed a “large quantity of unknown and unlabeled substances resembling hazardous materials in various forms.” They spell out that means both liquids and solid chemicals. There were a whole lot of them. “Further investigation confirmed the presence of vast quantities of unknown, unlabeled substances.”
That’s when the first tier Hazmat team screamed for help and the stage two team was activated, bringing along more gear. The first step was protecting the public and the investigators.
“Additional resources were requested to continue to assess the situation and evaluate potential dangers to responders, building occupants and the public.”
Since nobody knew what chemicals they were dealing with, as the building was evacuated, “the state police bomb squad, the state Department of Fire Services, FBI, Marlborough police and state environmental officials responded to investigate the materials.” They still aren’t sure what they found.
As of Thursday, “Officials were still trying to determine what the chemicals were.” Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Gogan notes, “we’ve processed a large amount of unlabeled unknown type chemicals in various forms, powders, liquids in various containers, some sealed, some labeled.”
They “had to call in the FBI, the state police Bomb Squad and Hazmat teams” because the substances were potentially dangerous. “They’ve been brought out and inventoried and categorized and sent away with a cleanup company, so that process has been ongoing since yesterday afternoon.“