Kenneth E. Berkenbush, Chief
17 School Street
Amesbury, MA 01913
For Immediate Release
Friday, Feb. 15, 2019
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Amesbury Firefighters Responding to Hazardous Material Incident on Chestnut Street
No Danger to Public at This Time
AMESBURY — Chief Kenneth E. Berkenbush reports that the Amesbury Fire Department is responding to a hazardous material incident at a business Friday night.
The incident is a Tier 1 response, the lowest tier out of five, and there is no danger to the public at this time.
At approximately 4:05 p.m., Amesbury firefighters responded to 6 Chestnut St. for a report of a potential hazardous material incident. The business, Trades Mill Co-op, offers rental space for craftsmen and tradesmen.
Upon arrival, firefighters spoke to the owner of the building who said that they had recently purchased the buildi
ng and were attempting to open an old safe that was inside that had been left behind by the previous owner.
When they opened one of the safe doors a booby trap was triggered, causing a vial with suspected CS gas inside to fall to the ground. The vial did not break. CS gas is similar to tear gas and is an irritant that is not generally poisonous.
The owners of the business called 911 and Chief Berkenbush ordered that the building be evacuated. No one was injured.
Amesbury Police have closed Chestnut Street and Washington Street out of an abundance of caution. Residents and drivers are asked to avoid the area, if possible. The roads will be reopened once the scene is cleared.
A state hazardous material response team responded to the scene and is working to remove the vial from the building. The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad will then be detonating the item in a safe location.
“This obviously isn’t a call that we go on every day, but I want to commend the building owner for calling 911 and thankfully no one was hurt,” Chief Berkenbush said.