Originally published on HC Community Journal
A clorine leak in West Kerr County prompted officials to call in hazmat teams from San Antonio to neutralize the situation.
According to Kerr County Emergency Management Coordinator Dub Thomas, the call came in at 9:13 on Oct. 13 when a Hunt resident reported the smell of chemicals in the air.
Specialized firefighter teams from Bexar County 2 Fire Department and Bexar County ESD 10 responded to the call, Thomas said.
Members of the Hunt Volunteer Fire Department, along with Thomas, responded to the call and it was determined at an abandoned 30-year old chlorine tank cap was compromised.
It took firefighters in full hazmat gear an estimated two hours and three attempts to repair the damage and prepare the cylinder for removal from the premises.
“They had to go in three times to get it capped with a Type A containment collar. The base of the cylinder was rusted so bad that they couldn’t get the cap on straight and make it stay straight when they tightened it up,” Thomas said.
According to Thomas, Chemtrec, a private Houston company, was abel to remove the tank safely.
“Chemtrec will give the cylinder to another company for removal and redistribution,” Thomas said.
The Bexar County firefighters were called in as part of a longstanding mutual aid agreement.
“Kerr County is part of the AACOG Regional Mutual Aid Agreement which means that if we don’t have the resources here to handle an incident, and one of our partner counties has that resource, they will provide the resource. Likewise, if Kerr County has a resource that Bexar County may not have and they call us and request that resource, we will provide it if it’s available,” Thomas said.
Thomas said no injuries or illness was reported and praised all first responders for their efforts.
“The process worked exactly as an incident command system should. Hunt VFD was the first on scene, assessed the situation and realized they needed assistance and then called for Kerrville FD. KFD responded, assessed the leak and advised that they didn’t have the Type A unit or a trained tech for it so I called Bexar County EMC and they sent their teams out immediately,” Thomas said. “Interagency communications worked well between the two Bexar County fire units and Hunt VFD. Hunt VFD provided support for the decon of the firefighters when they came out and also traffic control in the area for the entire day.”
Thomas said he was in contact with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality throughout the multi-hour ordeal.