Employee error appears to be the cause of a chemical reaction that forced the evacuation of the powerhouse at the Ruskin Dam in Mission yesterday (Aug. 30).
The incident was quickly contained and cleaned up. No injuries were reported.
Mission Fire Rescue Service received a call at around 2:15 p.m. about a suspected chemical incident at the site.
When firefighters arrived, they were told a chemical was creating some smoke and workers were feeling nauseous.
The powerhouse was evacuated and the District of Mission’s hazardous materials contractor was called in to investigate.
It was quickly determined that the situation was not dangerous to the public.
“It was an error by some employees,” explained assistant fire chief Blaine Odenbach. “They had some materials that they use as an electrical insulator and there are two components, a resin and a hardener.”
When the components are mixed, there is a exothermic reaction as the resin slowly becomes hardened.
According to Odenbach, there were six paint cans full of the resin in the powerhouse that had expired and needed to be disposed of by the employees.
“They mixed all six cans, put the cardboard lid back on and the exothermic reaction started to burn the lid and generate smoke.”
The cans have been removed.