Reporting Alex DeMetrick
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It went to three alarms but a fire in Canton posed a risk other than flames.
Alex DeMetrick reports more information is coming out about the chemicals inside the burning building.
Firefighters knew early on that Sunday night’s three-alarm fire at the Eastern Plating Company in Canton involved potentially dangerous chemicals.
“The chemicals they use on a daily basis are hazardous,” said Baltimore City Fire Chief Roman Clark.
So more than fire was the focus of attack and specialists were called out.
People downwind were evacuated briefly as a precaution.
“There were a couple of containers inside, 650 gallon containers that contained sulfuric acid,” said Kevin Cartwright, Baltimore City Fire.
“I was aghast and I was afraid a little bit of what was in there,” said resident Alice Cooper.
But it turns out there was a lot more than the acids sitting at the heart of the fire.
“About 8,000 gallons of acids that are typically used in plating operations,” said Jay Apperson, Maryland Department of the Environment.
In photos obtained by WJZ, most of those acids were stored away from the worst of the fire and remained intact, but where the building burned, water flushed some acid out into storm drains. To dilute it, Maryland’s Department of Environment added more water before it reached the harbor.
“We were looking for any kind of distress among aquatic life. We didn’t see any; we don’t believe there was any significant primary damage,” Apperson said.
Before demolishing what’s left of the building, chemicals still intact will be removed.
“Secure the site from outsiders, safely get into the building to get at the chemicals and pump out or otherwise remove the chemicals,” Apperson said.
“I hope so. I hope they get them out. It’s worrisome,” Cooper said.
According to Baltimore City fire, no one was injured during the three hours it took to contain the fire and the chemicals.