Forge Park Incident Brings Massive Hazmat Response


A routine day at Dynisco, a Franklin maker of instruments and analyzers, for testing the physical, mechanical, and thermal properties of polymers, went seriously wrong right off the bat Tuesday.

At 8:56 am, the Franklin Fire Department received a fire alarm from the company’s facility at 38 Forge Parkway. The first arriving department units were advised by the building occupants of a small chemical fire, which self-extinguished, and of a chemical leak.

After consulting with a chemist on site, fire companies investigated and found a smoke or vapor condition in a process room within the facility. The building was then fully evacuated and a Tier 2 Hazardous Materials response was requested from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.

Tier 2 hazardous materials are chemicals that are required to have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on site by OSHA.

However, when the Hazardous Materials Team arrived a Tier 3 response was requested, bringing 45 Hazardous Materials Technicians to the site.

Tier 3 hazardous materials incidents are long-term operations that can potentially  involve large releases of hazardous materials that are beyond the capabilities of a single state or regional response team.

The Hazardous Materials team then planned an entry to isolate the material in question. Franklin Fire Department first identified the material as a small quantity of pyrophoric liquid metal “used in the manufacture of electrical equipment.” In an initial alert, New England Fire News described the leaking substances as ‘sodium potassium’. This description was later confirmed. Pyrophoric substances ignites spontaneously in air and are often water-reactive as well meaning they will ignite when they contact water or humid air.

In this case, there were no injuries nor was there a threat to the public, according to the department. The situation was under control by 2:00 pm and all units were cleared from the scene by 3:30.

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