Health Officials at Scene of Mercury Spill

Health Officials at Scene of Mercury Spill

PRESS RELEASE
Contact:  Janine Zuniga; (619) 522-7340


EPA, County Health Officials on Scene of Mercury Spill

CORONADO, CA (June 5, 2018) – A garage fire at a Coronado home on Monday has resulted in a hazardous materials cleanup involving local and federal health officials. There were no evacuations or reported injuries.

The garage fire started at about 2:30 p.m. on Monday in an alley behind the 400 block of Orange Avenue and was put out within about 10 minutes. Damage to the structure alone was estimated at about $20,000.

Fire officials called the San Diego County Department of Environmental Heath, which sent Hazardous Materials Division crews to assess the situation, after confirming that vials of mercury were found broken and had contaminated the structure.

Fire Chief Jim Lydon said the area is being monitored and that “there is no reason for concern for neighboring residences.” Lydon said the department will be unable to determine the cause of the fire due to the ongoing removal of contaminated material. It is unknown why that amount of mercury was in the garage. 

Environmental crews reported the spill included about 24 pounds of mercury, and responders set up a safety perimeter around the scene. One fluid ounce of mercury weighs almost one pound. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was on the scene late Monday. The EPA assumed responsibility for the cleanup on Tuesday after the City formally requested the agency’s assistance.

On Tuesday, a large trash bin was brought in and the ground underneath it was covered with plastic material in the work area. Crews in white coveralls and safety masks were removing debris from the garage, including glass vials and other items that may have been contaminated. The material will be hauled to a certified hazardous waste materials site.

The work is expected to take a team of up to a dozen workers a couple of days to clean up on 24-hour shifts. A command station is being set up.

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EPA on Scene
Posted on 06/05/2018
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