PLAINVILLE — Acting Fire Chief Richard Ball reports that the Plainville Fire Department responded to the scene of a Tier 2 hazardous materials incident that occurred at a building in town earlier today.
At approximately 1 p.m., the Plainville Fire Department was alerted to what was believed to be a large refrigerant leak at 5 Commerce Boulevard, site of local business Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Around 200 people inside the building, which is under construction, quickly evacuated and no injuries were reported.
A Tier 1 HazMat response was triggered, and the State Hazardous Materials Emergency Response division was called to investigate. The incident was later elevated to a Tier 2 response, which is classified as a short-term operation.
The State Fire Marshal’s office was notified, along with local representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The HazMat team is actively working to safely mitigate the incident and then firefighters will work to ventilate the building. The leak was contained to the building.
Crews are expected to be working into the evening. The public is asked to avoid the area if possible while crews remain on scene.
The cause and origin of the leak remains under investigation, though it is believed to have occurred on the second floor of the building when a refrigerant system that was being installed was activated and a frozen pipe cracked. Approximately 2,000 pounds of liquid refrigerant is believed to have spilled.
The Wrentham, Norfolk, Bellingham, Sutton and North Attleboro fire departments responded to the scene to provide assistance, and the Foxborough Fire Department is providing station coverage during the incident.
“I want to thank our local and state partners for their quick and efficient response to this incident,” Acting Chief Ball said. “We are grateful that those inside the building were able to quickly and safely evacuate and that no one was injured as a result.”