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Soda Machine Leak Forces Hazmat Incident

Several employees on Ballardvale Street complained of headaches and dizziness, forcing the building's evacuation.

Firefighters spent several hours with a Hazmat crew on Saturday afternoon after employees at a Ballardvale Street warehouse complained of a strange odor in the building.

Deputy Fire Chief Rick McClellan said a call came in at about 1:10 p.m. on Saturday from 240 Ballardvale Street. Multiple employees were complaining of headaches and slight dizziness, prompting the call to the Fire Department.

Three employees were evaluated at the scene but declined being transported to the hospital.

Meanwhile, the regional Hazmat team arrived on scene and began searching for the source of the odor. Originally the crew believed a warehouse that produces cleaning supplies in another part of the building could have been the issue, but they quickly ruled that out.

Using gas monitors, the Hazmat team discovered a soda machine in the building that was leaking refrigerant. The machine was unplugged and the service company was called.

“Once the building was cleared, the employees were allowed to go back into the building,” said McClellan. “The good news was that there wasn’t enough refrigerant in the system or that leaked to cause a major problem.”

In total, it took firefighters and Hazmat members more than three hours to clear the scene completely.

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