First published in the March 19 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
A chemical leak at a business in Los Angeles’ Atwater Village area prompted Burbank Unified School District officials to cancel outdoor activities and hold lunch indoors on Thursday.
The incident was reported at about 8:40 a.m. at Huntsman Chemical in the 4500 block of West Electronics Place, said Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Officials evacuated the building as a precaution, though there were no reported injuries, she added.
“A metal vessel was being prepared for packaging/distribution and a small valve broke, expelling gas into the air creating a small cloud which rapidly dissipated,” Stewart said. “There was no fire, no explosion, no injuries and no medical complaints.”
The BUSD told families in an email that fire officials indicated there was no immediate danger to the Burbank community, but that students would be kept inside “out of an abundance of caution.”
Several community members reported on social media that they could smell the chemicals in Burbank. A school district employee, who asked that she remain anonymous, said the vapor cloud from the leak caused a burning sensation in her eyes. Fire officials recommended residents in the area close doors and windows if they smelled “an unusual odor,” and that those wishing to leave move south of the leak. Officials also advised anyone in the affected areas feeling unwell to seek medical advice through a health care provider.
“Firefighters [who] made entry with specialized gas meters determined there is no current threat — there were no readings of concern on the meters,” Stewart said.
Stewart said the product was RenInfusion 8610, a one-component epoxy system that was being processed for transport. The product is corrosive when in direct contact with a person while it is in a liquid state, she added, noting that no workers on the scene of the leak reported medical issues.
City News Service contributed to this report.