Hospital Evacuated After Flammable, Poisonous Gas Leak
A hospital security guard was treated for exposure to the gas.
Marlborough firefighters responded to Marlborough Hospital shortly after 6 a.m. Wednesday when an ethylene oxide alarm sounded in the hospital’s laboratory/central sterile supply area, said officials.
Multiple fire department assets responded to the initial alarm and found that a security guard had entered the area in an attempt to reset the alarm. He was taken to the emergency room to be checked out for lowered oxygen levels and elevated carbon monoxide levels in his bloodstream.
He was treated and released. No other injuries were reported.
Police and fire officials cordoned off and evacuated a portion of the hospital due to the hazardous nature of the gas leaked.
"Ethylene oxide (EtO) is a flammable, colorless gas at temperatures above 51.3 degrees fahrenheit (10.7 ºC) that smells like ether at toxic levels. EtO is found in the production of solvents, antifreeze, textiles, detergents, adhesives, polyurethane foam, and pharmaceuticals," said Deputy Chief Ron Ayotte in a release. "Smaller amounts are present in fumigants, sterilants for spices and cosmetics. It is also used during hospital sterilization of surgical equipment."
A hazmat team checked out the area using specialized metering equipment. The ethylene oxide had dissipated as of that time. The area was declared to be safe at 7:39 a.m. and the employees that worked in those areas were allowed to return.
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