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The Danville Fire Department was dispatched to a possible structure fire at 1032 Cahill Court on 7/26/18 at 2:21pm. E1 arrived and saw moderate white smoke coming out of the front roll up door of the building. Further investigation revealed the smoke was coming from behind the building and the smoke was traveling through the building. According to occupants of the building the fire was out but it was still producing smoke. The occupants threw dirt on the fire to control it. They advised they had been mixing chemicals and there was a reaction. The container boiled over and started to melt. This is where the smoke was coming from. The occupants showed the firefighters the two chemicals that were being used. At this time all occupants were moved across the street. Positive pressure fans were set up to remove the smoke from the building. The smoke dissipated quickly as it exited the building. There was no threat to anyone else in the area. E7's crew was asked to bring additional metering equipment to the area to monitor around the affected area. E7's crew are members of the Danville Regional Hazardous Materials Team and were on the scene with the original dispatch of the call.
At this time the DFD Fire Marshal's Office(FMO) was notified. The Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management Regional Hazardous Materials Officer(HMO) was also contacted and he responded to the scene. The occupants were checked again to verify they were okay. The owner of another business on Cahill Ct. had assisted the occupants of the business. He breathed in smoke and had also fallen while helping. He was complaining of a head ache and a little difficulty breathing. This patient went through a gross decontamination to be cleared of any residue. This included removing clothes and being rinsed before placing him in the Danville Life Saving Crew ambulance. The DLSC transported him to SOVAH. They were aware of the situation and the patient was deemed safe to enter the Emergency Dept. by the DFD. He was treated and later released.
Members of the HazMat Team donned Level "B" suits with breathing apparatus and entered the building to insure no one else was inside. They also opened doors and windows to help with the removal of smoke. They also checked the area behind the building and metered the area. After the area was deemed safe the State HMO and the FMO investigated. The State Emergency Operations Center and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality(DEQ) were notified. The decision was made to tape off and close the business until further investigations are completed. The emergency was mitigated. DEQ will be sending representatives to assist with the investigation and see if there are any environmental issues.
The DFD responded with 3 engines, 1 ladder, and several support vehicles. A total of 20 DFD personnel and the other agencies were on scene for over 3 hours.
Brian K. Alderson