Hazardous material technicians were called to the Hillsboro Water Treatment Plant Thursday morning after a chlorine leak was reported, according to Branden Jackman, public information officer for Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District.
There were no injuries or danger to the public, and the water quality was not affected, Jackman said, although readings showed dangerous levels of chlorine gas and carbon monoxide in the basement of the plant.
“Chlorine gas is nasty,” Jackman said, adding that if anyone had entered the basement without proper equipment, it could have been fatal.
“If you stayed down there for any amount of time, you would lose consciousness and you could die,” Jackman said.
Hazmat technician Jim Lyle said 45 to 50 seconds and a few deep breaths in those conditions would be life-threatening.
Paint Creek’s Lyle and Jerry Quigley, both certified hazmat technicians, entered the building wearing fully encapsulating hazmat suits to identify the leak and check air quality.
Jackman said the source of the leak was a broken pipe.
At press time, the atmosphere in the building had stabilized and workers were repairing the leak.
Jackman said hazardous material technicians must complete in-depth training and attend periodic update classes to retain certification.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.