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Engine 21 and Assistant Chief Respond to Williston HAZMAT

On April 28th at 11:53hrs, the Essex Junction Fire Department was requested to respond with an engine mutual aid to the Town of Williston at 357 Avenue C for some type of chemical release in the building, reported multiple injuries. Due to the nature of the call and what was found upon arrival, Williston's Fire Chief requested mutual aid from South Burlington Fire, Essex Junction Fire, Essex Fire, Richmond Fire, Richmond Rescue, Essex Rescue, Saint Michael's Rescue, UVM Rescue, IBM HAZMAT and Vermont State HAZMAT Team.

Engine 21 and Utility 61 responded with a total of four personnel, arrived on scene and reported to Williston's command post. The crew was put to work controlling access to the building as well as controlling utilities and assisting with ventilation. The personnel operated on the scene alongside members of other agencies for over three hours before being released by command.

It was later determined that either bear repellent, pesticide or pepper spray in an aerosol form had somehow been released from its canister while in the sorting area, causing the chemical to disperse throughout the building. Less than two dozen victims were treated and released from the hospital.

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