Company's chemical reaction forces air tests, early high school - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Company's chemical reaction forces air tests, early high school dismissal in Cheshire

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A chemical incident had hazmat crews responding to Dalton Enterprises in Cheshire on Monday. (WFSB) A chemical incident had hazmat crews responding to Dalton Enterprises in Cheshire on Monday. (WFSB)
A hazmat team was called to Dalton Enterprises on Willow Street in Cheshire on Monday morning. (WFSB) A hazmat team was called to Dalton Enterprises on Willow Street in Cheshire on Monday morning. (WFSB)
CHESHIRE, CT (WFSB) -

A company in Cheshire that specializes in recoating sports surfaces was evacuated and an area school was dismissed because of a chemical reaction, according to police.

Crews were sent to Dalton Enterprises, Inc. on Willow Street around 8 a.m. on Monday.

Police said the evacuation of local businesses and some residents was made.

The area around Willow and Spring streets was shut down. However, it has since reopened and it's business as usual.

The incident also forced Cheshire High School to dismiss early at 10 a.m.

“All is a sudden, we smelled this bad plastic burning," said Jorja Markella, a sophomore at Cheshire High School. "We look into the senior walk and we saw a haze and my teacher said, 'this can’t be good.'” 

Police confirmed the chemical reaction shortly after 10 a.m.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said a chemical called phosphorus pentoxide anhydride is typically mixed with plastic resin to then be mixed with asphalt for patching driveways. However, a reaction with water made the resin cure inside a mixing vehicle. 

“It appeared there was a chemical reaction that was off-gassing a vapor cloud," said Jeff Chandler, supervisor, DEEP emergency response unit.

As the reaction was happening, employees at Dalton were taken outside for safety reasons.

“Whether they were two feet from it or 200 feet from it, we wanted to ensure everyone was evaluated and everyone was 100 percent, said Assist. chief Dan Ford, Cheshire Fire Department.

Firefighters said when they arrived, there was a good amount of steam coming out of the building.

"According to [Cheshire Fire Department] and [Department of Energy and Environment Protection], the reaction associated with this incident has completed and personnel are continuing to test air quality in the immediate vicinity," Cheshire police posted to Twitter. "While the odor associated with this incident may continue to be present for a period of time but it is not a danger."

Firefighters said at no time were chemicals detected in the air.

A Waterbury hazmat team responded. DEEP's emergency response and spill teams were also there.

They asked people to avoid the area.

Neighbors reported a "plastic" or "chemical" smell in the area.

“It was scary at first because I was worried about my friend who lives down there, [I was] worried something was happening at her house," said Alex Thomas of Cheshire. “Other friends have said they smell stuff, but we haven’t smelled anything.”

Firefighters cited DEEP in that there was a residual odor in the air, but it did not pose any health threat.

“Police came by and told us everything was okay where we were but they were evacuating some houses closer to the plant," Thomas said.

No injuries were reported.

The employees at Dalton were all said to be safe and refused medical treatment.

DEEP reported no immediate risk to the public.

It said and the fire marshal are investigating the incident.

Channel 3 reached out to Dalton for a comment but has yet to hear back.

Dalton's website said it puts Latex-Ite coatings on recreational and pavement surfaces.

School officials said classes will resume as normal on Tuesday.

Refresh this page and watch Channel 3 for updates.

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