Officials warn ‘don’t mix chemicals’ after building evacuation in Kingston

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Mixing the wrong chemicals forced an evacuation of a large downtown Kingston building – Jan 25, 2018

A large office building at the Royal Block in downtown Kingston was evacuated on Wednesday afternoon after a chemical mix-up spread noxious fumes throughout the building.

The Royal Block is home to the Royal Bank and a number of smaller businesses, and all had to abandon the building. Fire officials say they got the call shortly before 2 p.m. in the afternoon.

Ted Posadowski, the city’s chief fire prevention officer said they received a hazmat call downtown.

“Crews responded — on arrival, the first floor was being evacuated. Crews went inside and it was determined that an individual was trying to make some corrections within the facility and used two chemicals that unfortunately reacted.

Property owner Braebury Properties confirmed that there was a chemical reaction inside. It happened when two cleaning agents were used to unclog a sink. Tom Beardall is an occupational and environmental health consultant with Phoenix OHC, Inc. in Kingston, and warns against mixing chemicals.

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“Most chemicals are a complex mixture to begin with, you start mixing two complex mixtures and you don’t know what to expect.”

READ MORE: Sunlight causes chemical reaction in dust on Edmonton roads: University of Alberta

Several fire trucks and ambulance attended. Frontenac Paramedic Services say multiple people were treated on scene and eight people were taken to hospital for respiratory irritation.

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