Chemical find forces evacuation

April 25, 2008|By Richard Irwin

Several residents in the 1900 block of Aliceanna St. in Fells Point were evacuated from their homes for several hours last night while a Fire Department hazardous-materials team neutralized a potentially explosive chemical inside a business, a department spokesman said.

There were no injuries. Traffic was detoured from the scene.

About 8:30 p.m., an employee of Powell Labs Limited noticed a small glass vial containing dry picric acid, a poisonous and explosive yellow crystalline solid used to etch stainless steel, that had been sitting on a shelf for a long time, said Chief Kevin Cartwright, the spokesman.

Cartwright said the employee knew that dry picric acid had the potential to explode if handled violently and called the Fire Department. Cartwright said firefighters neutralized the acid with water, making it safe to handle and dispose of if necessary.

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