Firefighters called after hazardous vapour cloud forms



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Firefighters were called out today after the release of a hazardous vapour.

At about 10.50am two pumping appliances from Castletown fire station were sent to alarms operating at Element 6, an industrial manufacturing company based at the freeport in Ballasalla.

Staff from Element 6 said that the alarm had been raised due to a malfunction in a processing room, which resulted in a hazardous vapour cloud being released into that room.

The vapour cloud was identified as being formed from the heating of sulphuric and nitric acids but was contained within one room on site.

Two firefighters were sent to a zone outside the risk area to isolate the heaters within the risk zone and to switch on the filter extraction systems.

Once the filter extraction system had been operating for a while, two firefighters wearing gas tight suits and breathing apparatus, went into the risk area with air sampling equipment to ensure the vapour cloud had been fully extracted.

Once the fire service was happy that there was no longer any risk present the management of the building was handed over to staff.

A fire service spokesman said: ‘Due to the evacuation procedures demonstrated by the staff at Element 6 and the safe systems of work they have in place, the vapour cloud which developed was never allowed to cause a health problem to those in the vicinity.’

Station Officer Kirkham, who was duty officer for the incident, said: ‘I was impressed by the professionalism shown by the Element 6 maintenance team who were a valuable asset to the fire personnel in bringing the incident to a safe and successful conclusion.’

Two pumps from Castletown fire station and a chemical incident and decontamination unit from Douglas were sent to the incident.

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