Shortly after 3:00 p.m. this afternoon the Auburn Fire Rescue Department received a call from the Casella Recycling Facility located at 15 Hardscrabble Rd. for an unknown liquid that was causing approximately 30-35 employees suffer burning throat, itchy skin and eyes and shortness of breath when inside the building. Upon the fire rescue departments arrival all of the employees had left the facility after they told Casella officials they did not want to seek medical attention.
The Fire Rescue Department requested assistance from the state Hazardous Materials Team in identifying the substance. The Haz Mat team upgraded the response a short time later from a Tier I to a Tier II response which would allow team members to conduct an entry into the facility for an investigation and sampling.
At this time the facility is closed and no employees were transported to the hospital. The Fire Rescue Department requested assistance from the Central Mass EMS Corporation in placing area hospitals including Rhode Island on alert for potential patients and to our knowledge no one has sought medical attention at a hospital.
The state Haz Mat Team is on scene and preparing for entry to the area. There is no public health concern for area residents and the situation is contained to an area of the recycling facility. The agencies currently on scene are Auburn Fire Rescue and Police, Auburn Board of Health, state DEP and the state Haz Mat Team from the Department of Fire Services.
The AFRD will provide an update at the conclusion of the incident.
Chief Stephen M. Coleman Jr.