Services complex evacuated for hazardous fumes

November 10, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

An employee at the county women's shelter was overcome by noxious fumes yesterday after a resident inadvertently mixed common household cleansers, forcing authorities to evacuate the three-story Citizens Services Complex in Westminster.

Elonda Lippy, shelter manager, was taken with respiratory problems to Carroll County General Hospital, authorities said. She was treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The incident began about 9: 10 a.m. in the shelter's kitchen on the third floor of the complex at 10 Distillery Drive. A shelter resident poured ammonia and bleach from separate containers into a bucket of water, causing a chemical reaction that created chlorine gas fumes, said Mike Rehfeld, assistant chief at Westminster Fire Engine & Hose Co. No. 1.

Ammonia and bleach are not compatible, Rehfeld said. Firefighters flushed the mixture down a drain and used a large fan to clear the air.

More than 100 employees and visitors, including five toddlers who were rolled out of the complex in two cribs, were permitted to return within 30 minutes.

The complex also houses the Department of Social Services, the Bureau of Housing, Carroll County Family Center, the Child Abuse Sexual Assault unit and Carroll Food Sunday.

Pub Date: 11/10/98

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