June 4, 2012

Vapor sends three workers to hospital

The chemical reaction occurs during cleaning at a Scarborough business.

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

SCARBOROUGH - Three employees were taken to the hospital Sunday after a chemical reaction produced a potentially dangerous vapor inside a Scarborough business.

Deputy Fire Chief Tony Attardo said all of the workers made it out of QuantumClean at 5 Gibson Road on their own, but he did not know their conditions.

Attardo said the workers were doing routine industrial cleaning when a mix of fluoric acid, nitric acid and ionized water produced a vapor that made them feel ill. The vapor was contained in one room.

The South Portland and Presumpscot Valley hazardous materials teams arrived at the company off Pleasant Hill Road soon after the incident was reported around 4:30 p.m. Westbrook, Gorham, Portland and Windham also sent ambulances and fire trucks to assist if needed.

It might have appeared like an overreaction to the casual observer, Attardo said, but "you never know what you've got until it's over. We really have to ramp things up because there is a lot of monitoring and other things that go into this type of incident."

Hazardous material team members tested the air quality and found it to be stable. The business reopened shortly after 6 p.m.

According to its website, QuantumClean is headquartered in Dublin, Pa. QuantumClean describes itself as the leading provider of parts cleaning, part restoration, surface treatment and engineering services to the semiconductor industry.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

dhoey@pressherald.com

 

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