From the Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association:
Shortly before 1700 hours (5:00 PM.) Tuesday March 8, 2011 Harford County 911 received a call from an employee of Citrus and Allied Essences Inc. in the 4600 block of Mercedes Drive in Belcamp reporting a chemical product spill. The spill, involving liquid xylenes, occurred while employees were moving transport containers known as “totes” inside the facility.
Chemical response data sheets describe Xylenes as a toxic, flammable, slightly reactive liquid and/or vapor. As the totes were being stacked one of them slipped and upon striking a wall began leaking. The employees recognized that a hazardous situation was developing and immediately acted to limit the spread of the product and summon emergency response assistance. Their actions resulted in minimizing the impact of the spill on employees, the environment, and ultimately the community. Initial reports were that as much as 1800 pounds (estimated to be approximately 200-250 gallons) of the product may have leaked from the damaged tote.
Emergency responders from the Harford County Hazardous Materials Response Team, the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company, and the Maryland Department of the Environment were dispatched to the scene and began site assessment, air monitoring, and ventilation of the structure of any flammable vapors. After determining that the leak had ceased from the damaged tote emergency response personnel from Citrus and Allied along with the Harford County Hazardous Materials Team entered the building utilizing appropriate protective equipment to place the totes in a stable position. While performing this operation, firefighters from the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company provided support for the crews working inside the building by positioning hoselines to protect the personnel working with the totes.
At approximately 1930 hours (7:30 P.M.) it was determined that all immediate hazards were eliminated and Harford County Emergency Response agencies were able to turn control of the clean up operation over to the facility’s personnel. At no time was there any hazard present beyond the property of the facility. No injuries were reported to the approximately 35 responding emergency personnel or the approximately 14 employees present at the facility.
“The employees of Citrus and Allied acted properly and quickly upon detecting this spill. Their prompt actions certainly minimized the effects of this incident on the environment” stated Clarence Ross, Assistant Chief of the Harford County Hazardous Materials Response Team.