Clinton, IA (KWQC) — Davenport hazmat and Clinton fire officials are investigating a chemical spill in the basement of a barber shop Wednesday night. Some residents in the area say they waited for nearly 6 hours to get back to their homes and businesses. Hazmat officials say they had to be more cautious
than usual in order to make sure the scene was safe.
Business owner Lisa Reis was at her gun shop when the Clinton fire department told her to evacuate her building
"We were just really confused at first, we didn't know what was going on, we got everything put away and got the heck out here," Reis said.
The Clinton fire department and Davenport hazmat team were called for what they thought was a complaint of a strong odor coming from a local barber shop.
Instead they found several barrels of a chemical substance called Tetrahydrofuran in the barber shop basement, a substance that can cause dizziness, nausea and headaches from it's strong fumes.
Davenport hazmat captain Ron Berchette says the substance was left in the basement from a previous owner since 1985, he says his team had to be very cautious with the 30 year old substance.
"The problem is this chemical sat for a long period of time and did some decomposition so it made it harder and it was much more flammable when it did release and that end it process it made it harder for us to get in there and clean it up," Berchette said.
Now Berchette says after a period of tests, residents are safe from any toxins from the spill
"It's cleared, we've cleared it out and gotten the chemical out of there, and isolated that chemical so it's a safe environment now, but initially it was a very very unsafe environment with the flammability and the toxicity of it," said Berchette.