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January 19, 2011

Pa. responders exposed in Hazmat call

By Kena Vernon
WNEP

HERNDON, Pa. — Emergency crews and a hazardous materials team were called out Monday morning near Herndon after a man reported a possible chemical burn.

According to state police, a man had illegally ridden the train from Philadelphia to Northumberland County. He got off the train near Herndon, and troopers say medical personnel were called to treat the man for severe burns on his abdomen. State police say it is not known where the man suffered his injuries. A news release late Monday night stated there is no evidence the man was burned on the train.

Paramedics with the Dalmatia Area Ambulance League responded to the location off Route 147 to treat the man and they, too, reacted to the suspected chemical. Hazardous materials crews were called in and decontaminated all three men. A nearby park was closed as a precaution.

"When the ambulance crew interfaced with him they started getting sick and that's when they called for a Hazmat team," said Assistant Fire Chief Ron Hinkley of Herndon Fire Company.

The man was brought into an ambulance that will now have to be decontaminated both inside and out.

The two emergency personnel were also treated.

They put up a decontamination shower and the men were cleaned off including the Hazmat team.

"What happens is anyone who was involved in the situation, touched in any way, we had to strip them out and go though that decon station here. They then got different clothing and were transported by ambulance," said Hinkley.

The Northumberland County director of public safety said they along with the Department of Environmental Protection are investigating what chemical caused the burning sensation.

"Right now, the basic evidence is clothing but, because we don't know what the chemical is, so all of that will go into evidence right now," said Paul Froutz, Northumberland County public safety.

Police have not identified the man who jumped off the train. He was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital for his burns.

The two EMTs, Erik Shrawder and Ed Carl Sr. were taken to Geisinger Medical Center. They were treated and released, according to state police.

State police said they are still investigating what chemical caused the burns. The state Department of Environmental Protection is testing samples that were taken from the scene in Northumberland County.

Republished with permission from WNEP


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