Albert B Beardsley, Fire Chief
47 Central Street
Georgetown, MA 01833
For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Georgetown Fire Responds to Hazardous Materials Incident
GEORGETOWN — Chief Albert Beardsley reports that the Georgetown Fire Department successfully handled and decontaminated a section of the roadway after a tractor-trailer spilled suspected hazardous material on the ground.
Firefighters received a call of a possible hazardous materials incident on Norino Way, opposite the Longview Apartments, at 4:29 p.m. on Wednesday.
The operator of a tractor-trailer reported his liquid cargo had broken open and spilled magnesium hydroxide along Access Road from National Way to Norino Way. Georgetown Engine 5, Ambulance 11, Car 1 and Georgetown Police responded to the area.
At the scene, firefighters found a trail of white liquid stretching about a half-mile leading up to the truck. The entire back of the tractor-trailer, as well as the ground, were covered with the chemical.
Magnesium hydroxide, or milk of magnesia, is a water suspension that is used in medicine and in a number of industrial applications.
Georgetown Police quickly sealed off the area to limit the public’s access until the fire department could determine a course of action for safe handling. Chief Beardsley also established immediate contact with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Regional Hazardous Materials Response Program in the event that the Georgetown officials needed specialized handling of the liquid.
“We always take incidents such as this extremely serious and work quickly and efficiently to ensure safety for our residents,” Chief Beardsley said. “We were very fortunate in this case. Nobody had to be hospitalized and there was no impact on the environment.”
Officials cleaned the area using sand provided by the Georgetown Highway Department. National Way and Access Way were closed down for about four hours Wednesday night as crews from Newburyport-based EnPro cleaned the streets and truck.
The driver of truck also had liquid splashed on his shorts, boots and legs. He was placed into a decontamination area where firefighters, under the direction of Firefighter/EMT Nicholas Valentini, removed his possibly contaminated clothing and any leftover residue.
Fire crews were back in the station a little after 7 p.m., but clean-up efforts continued through the night.