Forklift causes chemical spill

A tine from a forklift punctured a container causing a chemical spill in the industrial area of Greerton today, which saw a major fire service turn out just metres from the Greerton Fire Station.

Northern Fire Communications shift manager Scott Osmond says the punctured drum contained about 20 litres of a toxic organic chemical that spilled into the Mainstream yard.

The Hazmat team respond to a chemical spill in Greerton earlier today.

'There was nothing major involved. We just absorbed it and put it in a safe container,” says Scott.

'We spent about an hour or so doing the clean-up.”

Firefighters from across the city, including the Greerton Hazmat Unit, were called by Mainstream to attend about 7am.

Maleme Street traffic was reduced to one lane near the bottom of the hill from Cameron Road while fire fighters prepared their hazardous materials response.

The Hazardous materials truck parked in the drive, the decontamination shower and tent was set up nearby, while two firefighters donned bright orange hazmat suits.

A reporter at the scene says Hazmat responders entered the warehouse dragging a bin between them and then returned 10 minutes later.

Scott says the UN number on the container – 2810 – didn't match with anything the fire service had. The UN number is the international means of identifying the multitude of substances of varying toxicity that are traded internationally.

The substance was eventually identified as Furfuryl alcohol, says Scott.

It is also a toxic organic chemical, but with a different UN number. The substance is used as a foundry sand binder. It can also be used as a reactive solvent for resins, or as a chemical building block in drug synthesis, and as a food flavour agent.

Mainstream Tauranga manager Wayne Barn says all the paperwork was in order, nobody was injured and they lost 2-3 hours work while the spill was dealt with.

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