A portion of Sooke Road was closed off and traffic rerouted after firefighters were called to investigate a minor chemical spill inside a cleaning van.

Hazmat team suits up

Minor chemical spill in van closes Sooke Road

  • Oct. 26, 2011 6:00 p.m.

Sooke firefighters donned hazmat suits to investigate a minor chemical spill in a van last Wednesday night on Sooke Road.

The stretch of Highway 14 was closed between Charters and Drennan for a couple of hours while the Sooke fire department worked with RCMP to clean up some usually harmless cleaning agents that accidentally combined together creating debilitating fumes, said Fire Chief Steve Sorensen.

“We sent our guys in encapsulating suits and set up a decontamination area in case they spill anything on them,” said Sorensen.

They pulled everything out of the van, belonging to a 44-year-old man working for a cleaning company, and discovered a large container of Pine-Sol that mixed with powdered bleach and chlorine making a “variety of of nasty gases.”

The gasses caused the driver to become impaired without his knowledge, said RCMP staff sergeant Steve Wright.

At 7:45 p.m. that night, police received a complaint of the worker swerving onto oncoming traffic in the 5400 block of Sooke Road. An officer had difficulty stopping the man who was driving erratically.

“The guy got out of the and he was indicating strong signs of impairment,” said Wright. “The police officer had an immediate reaction and as soon as he opened the door (he realized) how strong it was. So we called the fire department.”

The smell was so strong, in fact, that the officer had to be taken to the hospital for precautionary measures. He was released shortly after with no lasting effects. The driver sat in the back of the squad car until he was looked at by the ambulance service, by which time he was no longer showing any visible symptoms.

Sorensen said the man was lucky.

“If it did make chlorine gas or ammonia gas there definitely can be health implications. Enough of it could be deadly.”

The van was towed and cleaned out before being returned. The driver was released with no charges but given a suggestion that he put in some kind of retention system.

Sooke, part of the regional hazmat team,  is one of the few municipalities to own some of their own hazardous materials equipment, said Sorensen.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

MISSING: VicPD seeks 33-year-old man last heard from in August

Scott Grier could have been travelling in Alberta, police say

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

New Sooke businesses popping up, amid turbulent market

‘I’m not quitting on these guys’, says company owner

Sooke girl who battled cancer hosting bottle drive for Tour de Rock

Event planned under Sooke’s SEAPARC sign on Sept. 19 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

West Shore RCMP seize rifle, dozens of replica firearms from Langford home

Suspect is 62-year-old man with a lengthy criminal record, say police

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Remote B.C. tourism lodge staffed for coastal clean up instead of wilderness tours

The Great Bear Rainforest is home to exotic wildlife — and international trash

Vancouver’s shuttered aquarium searching for financial solution amid pandemic

The aquarium needs about $1 million a month to cover its costs

Most Read