Chief Scott Duffey
360 Union St.,
Rockland, MA 02370
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018
Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Email: [email protected]
Rockland Fire Department Responds to Help School Dispose of Science Classroom’s Old Chemicals
ROCKLAND — Chief Scott Duffey reports that the Rockland Fire Department responded to a local school after a teacher found an old jar of sodium while cleaning a cabinet in a science classroom at the North River Collaborative School Tuesday afternoon.
At approximately 12:30 p.m., Rockland Firefighters responded to the school, located at 525 Beech St., after receiving a call from a science teacher who was cleaning out his classroom to prepare for the upcoming school year. Upon arrival, firefighters located a cardboard box inside of a filing cabinet. Inside the box were multiple containers and jars containing a variety of leftover chemicals and substances from old science experiments. The Rockland Police Department also responded to assist.
Based on the appearance of the box and jars, administrators concluded that the chemicals were several years old and likely had been there for years or decades.
School was not in session at the time and there was no immediate threat to the public.
A two-pound jar of sodium was determined to be a potential safety hazard and a Tier 1 Hazardous Materials Response (lowest tier) was triggered. A regional hazardous materials response team was called to investigate.
The HazMat crew subsequently determined that the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad should be notified. The bomb squad came to the school and took the sodium to the Rockland recycling center where it was rendered safe.
None of the materials had leaked or spilled inside the box and would not necessarily have posed a threat if left undisturbed. Out of an abundance of caution, the other chemicals in the box will be safely disposed of by a private company hired by the school.
“HazMat teams exist to provide for the safest possible mitigation of unwanted substances and chemicals. They are the professionals, and I want to acknowledge the faculty and administration of the North River Collaborative for making the correct call and notifying the fire department about these chemicals,” Chief Duffey said. “While a regional response brings a lot of vehicles and personnel to a location, today’s operation was conducted in an orderly and efficient manner.”
No one was hurt during today’s response.
North River Collaborative (NRC) is an educational organization formed in 1976 to serve the school districts of Abington, Avon, Bridgewater-Raynham, East Bridgewater, Hanover, Rockland, Stoughton, West Bridgewater and Whitman-Hanson and has a board of directors comprised of members elected from each member district’s school committee. The school provides programs to more than 200 students with disabilities from ages 3 to 22 from the member districts and surrounding communities.The Collaborative also provides specialized services including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy to more than 800 students in those communities.