BOURNE, Mass. - Bourne firefighters and a hazardous materials team are on the scene of a mercury spill at a condo complex Tuesday night.
First responders were called around 6 p.m. to 9 Ships Way after a vial of mercury spilled.
The unit was immediately evacuated and secured.
Bourne Fire requested a Tier 1 hazmat response. Bourne Fire is part of Department of Fire Services Hazmat District #1, which consists of 110 cities and towns. Each department has firefighters who are trained hazmat technicians. A Tier 1 response calls for 5 firefighters from surrounding cities and towns to respond to the scene. Bourne Fire Chief Norman Sylvester, a hazmat technician, is the incident commander.
The hazmat team is trying to collect as much of the mercury as possible.
When spilled, mercury breaks apart in beads instead of clumping in a puddle. These beads can be very tiny, making them hard to find. Mercury also evaporates at room temperature and its fumes do not have a smell, which makes it difficult to detect without sensors or other specialized instruments.
Bourne Fire Deputy Joseph Carrara told Boston 25 News the mercury spilled on a hardwood floor, which is harder to clean up than a tile or linoleum surface. The spaces in the hardwood floors make it harder to remove all of the mercury.
Mercury can turn into poisonous vapors that can have dangerous health effects, especially for children and pregnant women.
There are no reported injuries in this incident.
Carrara said as of 9:15 p.m., the hazmat team was still showing elevated readings of mercury inside the unit. It will likely have to remain secured and unoccupied until the Department of Environmental Protection can get to the scene with more specialized equipment and clean up the remainder of the spill.
This is a developing story.
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