HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL SPILL MITIGATED IN KAHALA

The Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) received a 911 call at 9:34 a.m. for a chemical spill at 4373 Hopeloa Place in Kahala.  Three resource units staffed with 11 personnel responded to the emergency.  The first fire fighters approached from the upwind-side of the scene and arrived at 9:43 a.m. to find approximately one-half gallon of dry, granular material on the street that was emitting a yellowish-colored vapor and chemical odor.

To protect the surrounding area, Puu Panini Avenue was closed from Huanui Street to Panini Loop at 9:59 a.m.  Neighboring homes in the area were unoccupied so none were asked to shelter in place during the incident.  While investigating further, a 49-year-old male who mixed some pool cleaning chemicals in a bucket, noticed it was reacting with each other and quickly carried the bucket away from the house to spread it on to the open street to try to slow the reaction.  Unfortunately, he inhaled some of the vapors while doing so and reported feeling nauseated and vomited.  He refused treatment from the Emergency Medical Services unit at 10:17 a.m.

Because of the nature of the emergency, the HFD’s Hazmat 1 unit arrived at the scene at 9:54 a.m. to investigate what chemicals were involved so an action plan of how to neutralize them could be developed.  Tactically, most of the non-reacting, dry mixture was swept up and placed safely into its container.  Copious amounts of water was applied near the poolside and on the street to ensure any residue of the reacting dry mixture was completely diluted.  During this time, specialized gas detection equipment was used to determine the quality of the air resulting in no harmful chemicals being detected in the surrounding area.  The Puu Panini Avenue was reopened and the scene was secured at 11:41 a.m.

The following pool chemical safety tips below are provided from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

The most common pool chemicals are inherently incompatible with each other.  Mixing can also lead to the release of highly toxic and corrosive chlorine gas.  Intentional or accidental mixing of incompatible chemicals is likely to lead to a chemical reaction that may generate temperatures high enough to ignite nearby combustible materials.  Reactions have also been traced to the mixing of old (partially decomposed) and new chemicals of the same type.