CADILLAC — A day after the release of hazardous material at a local manufacturer caused an evacuation of the facility, Cadillac Fire Marshal Anthony Wolff reflected Friday on the event and the response to it.
Wolff said clean up from the release of the material was completed by Thursday evening. Shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday, the Cadillac Fire Department was dispatched for the fire alarm at Avon Protection Systems, 502 Seventh St., but were advised by Wexford County Central Dispatch the call was for the release of the hazardous material.
Upon arrival at the facility, firefighters found the plant had already been evacuated and on-site personnel indicated all employees had safely evacuated without injury, according to a press release by the fire department. Fire crews also received information from on-site personnel that a failure had occurred with a hazardous material container inside a laboratory, which was sealed from the rest of the facility, the fire department said.
When a facility works with a hazardous material there is danger but Wolff said that is why such materials are highly regulated. He also said that is why the department plans for such incidents so if something does happen there is a plan in place.
He said Avon Protection Systems has been working with these types of materials for a long time and also have plans in place, which showed on Thursday.
After arrival Thursday at the facility, fire crews worked to secure the facility, account for personnel and establish an incident command post. Once the command post was established, fire crews began to activate additional resources to aid in the mitigation of the incident, including Wexford County Emergency Management, North Flight EMS, and resources from Traverse City Fire Department and Grand Traverse Metro Fire.
HAZMAT crews entered the facility and secured the damaged container and operations related to the containment were completed after 2 p.m. Thursday, according to the press release.
At no time was there an immediate danger to the safety or health of the community as the hazards posed by this incident remained confined to the laboratory, the fire department said. That said, managing hazardous materials can be complex and a genuine test of emergency preparedness, according to the release.