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Medical lab evacuated after chemical spill

Sept. 2, 2011

Employees were evacuated from the Wheaton Franciscan Health Care central laboratory, 11020 Plank Court, just before 3 p.m. Thursday because of a chemical spill, Wauwatosa Fire Chief Rob Ugaste said.

Franciscan spokeswoman Anne Ballentine said no one was injured. Seventy lab associates were evacuated, as were 15 people from an adjoining business.

Laboratory employees told fire officials the solvent Clear Rite 3 spilled when a machine malfunctioned. Clear Rite 3 is a chemical used in tissue processing and staining, according to a website for the product.

The chemical started to smoke and the Wauwatosa Fire Department was called. The Wauwatosa and Milwaukee Hazardous Material teams responded.

Hot and warm zones were established and a decontamination shower was set up as a precaution, Ugaste said. Wauwatosa Haz Mat technicians entered the building using self-contained breathing apparatus. Inside, they monitored air quality and evaluated the spill area. In addition, they moved some of the remaining chemical into a drum where it could be safely sealed.

The Fire Department turned the building back to the laboratory employees at 5:30 p.m.

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