Hazmat Unit Removes Dangerous Chemicals From Yakima YMCA - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hazmat Unit Removes Dangerous Chemicals From Yakima YMCA

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A dangerous chemical combination forced authorities to evacuate the Yakima YMCA Friday morning. The chemicals began releasing dangerous gases into the air. A dangerous chemical combination forced authorities to evacuate the Yakima YMCA Friday morning. The chemicals began releasing dangerous gases into the air.
YAKIMA, WA - A dangerous chemical combination forced authorities to evacuate the Yakima YMCA Friday morning. The chemicals began releasing dangerous gases into the air. 

Those two red buckets contain the chemicals that closed down the YMCA for hours Friday morning. It's a normal chemical used in pools, but mixed together it caused a very dangerous reaction. 

Mixing chemicals can produce a dangerous combination, the YMCA in downtown Yakima found that out the hard way with a pretty common substance, chlorine. Two different chlorine tabs from different companies were combined in the same container Friday morning by a maintenance worker. He realized something was wrong when the chemicals starting producing a vapor, and that vapor is extremely dangerous. 

"It can create respiratory difficulty and cause the respiratory system to shut down," Mitch Cole of the Yakima Fire Department said. "It can also cause fire. Something that wouldn't normally burn under normal conditions, chlorine makes it burn much more readily."

Because of the dangers, 100 people inside the building were evacuated immediately and no injuries were reported... 

"It's not something you anticipate is going to happen," Bob Romero, Executive Director of the YMCA said. "Obviously our maintenance guy was there and recognized there was an issue immediately and called 9-1-1 and dealt with it and made sure that we got everybody out of the building."

Hazmat workers separated the chemicals in these two red bins. The lesson of the story is to always take care when handling chemicals, even in your own household. 

"This type of stuff can happen at home as well," Cole said. "If people begin mixing products, bleach and chlorine and different things like that, they can have the same kind of tragedy. Not that there were tragic results here but they can have tragic results at home."

Once those red buckets are removed and taken to the landfill the Department of Ecology will inspect the YMCA to make sure it's all safe and the YMCA should re-open this afternoon. 

If you have any questions about household chemicals, you can call your local office of the state department of ecology. For Yakima, call (509) 575-2490 and for Benton County, call (509) 329-3400. 

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