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Emergency services called to gas leak in Penrose, Auckland

02-Dec-2016

 

 SAM SWORD

Commercial businesses were evacuated after a carbide spill in Penrose, Auckland.

Multiple fire crews have been called to a gas leak in Penrose, Auckland.

Emergency services were called to BOC gasses at 970 Great South Rd just before 7pm on Friday, after the plant reported a "calcium carbide spill".

A fire service spokesman said the carbide itself was not particularly harmful, but would produce a "volatile" byproduct if it came into contact with water.

Emergency services at the scene of a suspected gas leak in Auckland.

"Carbide is a chemical that reacts with water and other substances but water in particular will turn it into an acetylene gas, which is very volatile.

"If there is an ignition source, there would be an explosion."

At the scene, Roger Callister, assistant fire manager for Auckland central, said the offending chemical processor had to be shut down urgently, and Great South Rd closed as a precaution.

"We're remotely monitoring the temperature of the chemical reaction and, good news, the temperature is slightly dropping - it's almost down to ambient temperature." 

He said if temperatures continued to drop, crews would be on track to start cleaning up the scene around 10pm.

Over 30 firefighters were at the scene, including specialists in hazmat suits.

The fire service's hazardous substance specialist was also at the scene advising the best course of action.

There were no reports of injuries.

Police had cordoned off an area between Church St and Sylvia Park Rd, and had carried out evacuations of commercial businesses within 500 metres of the plant.

St John Ambulance were standing by at the scene as a precaution.

 - Stuff.co.nz


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