Mercury spill affects Idaho emergency room, fire station

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by KTVB.COM

NWCN.com

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 9:52 AM

BOISE -- Officials say some sort of mercury spill Wednesday morning led to big problems at a Garden City fire station and a local emergency room.

The incident reportedly involved a person who had been exposed to mercury at the entrance of the North Ada County Fire Rescue Station No. 2. The site is now a training facility.

Battalion Chief Tom Pawek says a man walked into the station shortly after 7:20 a.m. complaining of some sort of medical problem. Pawek says the man soon became combative, and the ensuing struggle with firefighters caused a blood pressure gauge to fall and break, spilling mercury.

The person was taken to the emergency room at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, according to Pawek.

Shortly afterward, a portion of the emergency room had to be isolated, and a haz-mat team was called to the emergency room.

"Ideally you would like things to not move from where they are, be decontaminated, cleaned off before they're transported so this doesn't happen," Pawek said. "Because the last thing we want to do is impact a hospital or an ER."

St. Alphonsus spokesperson Elizabeth Duncan says the haz-mat crew cleared the scene just before 12:30 p.m. No mercury was found. The emergency room and other hospitals facilities have resumed normal operations.

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