Chief Matthew Grafton
25 Central Street
Stoneham, MA 02180-2044
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Email: [email protected]
Stoneham Firefighters Evacuate Stop & Shop Following Refrigeration Gas Leak
STONEHAM — Chief Matthew Grafton reports that the Stoneham Fire Department responded to Stop & Shop last night after a refrigeration leak resulted in a hazmat response.
At 4:45 p.m., Stoneham Fire received a 911 call from someone in Stop & Shop, 259 Main St., reporting that there was a refrigerant leak in the building.
Engine 2 and Ladder 1 responded to the scene. Crews entered the store, and upon seeing haze in the air, evacuated the building. Stoneham Police and Action Ambulance also responded to provide assistance while the Reading Fire Department provided station coverage.
Through an on scene investigation, firefighters determined that there was a leak in the store’s refrigeration system, near the florist section, where construction work was underway.
Due to the nature of the incident, the Department of Fire Services’ Tier 1 Hazardous Materials Response Team was called to the scene for the reported hazmat.
Hazmat crews entered the store wearing self-contained breathing apparatus to assess the situation and to check the air quality.
Initial readings in Stop & Shop showed high levels of the refrigerant, an asphyxiant, in the air. The hazmat team was able to stop the leak and further ventilate the building.
No one was injured.
“I’m thankful that no one was injured during this incident and that crews from Stoneham Fire and the state hazmat team were able to mitigate the situation,” Chief Grafton said.
Stoneham Fire remained on scene until around 9:45 p.m. ventilating the building. The Board of Health arrived and determined the store needed to be closed for the remainder of the night. Stop & Shop reopened this morning following proper Board of Health procedures.
“All effected food items were discarded and all racks were sanitized and sterilized prior to the store’s reopening,” said Board of Health agent John Fralick.