Hazmat event has Grand Rapids chemical company rethinking operations

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A hazardous material scare on the north side of Grand Rapids has a chemical company rethinking the way they operate.

It isn't the first time this year that Haviland Enterprises has had this same chemical reaction create a hazardous materials situation.

“The way to prevent it is for us to not handle these chemistries, which is a real possibility after two events in one year; same chemistry, same very similar problems,” CEO Bernard Haviland said.

CEO Bernard Haviland is not backing down from questions about his company’s second hazmat situation in seven months.

Grand Rapids Battalion Chief Dan Stoddard says an oxidizer got wet, creating heat and setting off the sprinkler system and causing the reaction.

The incident shut down the the area and prompted evacuations at nearby buildings, including Apple Tree Learning Center. Employees from the center had to call concerned parents to tell them to come pick up their children.

A white plume of smoke was seen overhead and those nearby smelled the chemical, which mimics chlorine.

Haviland says the chemicals were headed for the pool and spa industry.

“Which you might not think is all that hazardous but these chemistries at some point they are hazardous, these oxidizers,” he said.

The chemical goes in swimming pools to kill the bugs.

Haviland Enterprises has been carrying the product for five years.

Haviland says it’s too early to know exactly what happened but not too early to decide it can never happen again.

“It may be too sensitive, too delicate and too hazardous for us at this point, we may just jettison the chemistry completely,” he said.

There were no injuries at today's hazmat reaction, though an employee was hospitalized for high blood pressure during the chaos of the event.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s