Chemical spill in science lab prompts decontamination

HMN – Chemical spill of bromine creates safety concerns at school lab. Original story from


Firefighters came from all over Auckland to decontaminate a school’s science lab after a pot of bromine overheated and popped open in the storeroom.

Staff at Westlake Boys High School called Takapuna Fire Station on December 6 just after 2pm and the firefighters went to investigate.

On arrival, the incident was deemed a full hazmat incident, and the nearby East Coast Bays station was called, as well as South Auckland’s Otara fire station, which carries decontamination equipment.

Two firefighters from East Coast Bays dressed in specially designed hazmat suits, and entered the science lab.

The firefighters placed the pot of bromine into an air-tight container that was later removed by a private company for disposal.

The crews were at the scene for two hours.

The firefighters wearing the hazmat gear had to take a shower before they removed the suits.


Bromine is corrosive to human tissue in liquid form, and its vapours are toxic and irritating to the eyes and throat.

The 35th element on the Table of the Elements is used in everyday products such as pesticides and in some drugs.

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