Improper insulation disposal initiates HAZMAT incident
by Jessica Loeding
Feb 24, 2012 | 2656 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow County Fire Department Sgt. Jon Scott, left, and Capt. Michael Kimbrel approach a trash bin where polyurethane foam was causing a chemical reaction Thursday with a thermal imaging camera to measure the heat. The pair remained 150 feet away when using the camera, taking a reading of 100 degrees from the container. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Bartow County Fire Department Sgt. Jon Scott, left, and Capt. Michael Kimbrel approach a trash bin where polyurethane foam was causing a chemical reaction Thursday with a thermal imaging camera to measure the heat. The pair remained 150 feet away when using the camera, taking a reading of 100 degrees from the container. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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A company's improper disposal of polyurethane foam insulation products Thursday evening led to an hours-long hazardous materials situation on Northpoint Parkway in Acworth.

The two chemicals used in making the foam had been poured into bags and placed inside the trash container, which was covered with a secured tarp, according to BCFD officials at the scene. Initially dispatched as a fire, the reaction created an off-color, creosote-odor smoke.

The contents, although smoldering, never ignited.

Bartow County Fire Department, Cartersville Fire Department, EMS and the HAZMAT unit were dispatched to the scene about 6 p.m.

Firefighters used thermal imaging technology from a distance of about 150 feet to determine the contents of the garbage bin were smoldering at around 100 degrees prior to any action being taken.

A chemical expert advised that flooding the container with water would speed up the components' reaction, causing the foam to solidify. Initial attempts at flooding the container were not successful, but after removing the tarp covering the bin, units were able to apply water and cool the foam mass.

No one was injured, and no evacuations were ordered.