Household Chemicals Cause Scare In Biloxi

Common household chemicals caused some tense moments in Biloxi on Monday with two city workers needing medical treatment.

Police say around 9 a.m. a public works crew was picking up debris on the side of the road when a chemical fog rose out of the pile. The incident happened on Tiffany Lane that is off Lorraine Road.

For hours, emergency workers tried to figure out what kinds of chemicals they were dealing with and how to keep more people from being exposed.

After Biloxi Police got the call about a possible chemical leak on Tiffany Lane, officers say their main concern became public safety. That meant telling people living on Tiffany to stay inside and keeping drivers off nearby Lorraine Road.

"We shut the road down," Capt. Harold Windham said. "Blocked it off. Keeping people out. We utilized the reverse 911 and everybody we saw coming in and out, we stopped and checked them making sure they weren't suffering from any kind of illness."

Biloxi's HAZMAT teams tried to figure out what chemical had nauseated a public works employee and caused his eyes to burn.

Capt. Windham said, "The fire department came and utilizing meters, determined there was some type of a chemical present, unknown what it was at the time."

After two-and-half hours and the arrival of the Mississippi Department of Environmental quality, the mystery behind the chemical fog was solved. Officials say it was a mixture of bug spray and aluminum cleaner. Apparently the workers had crushed the cans while picking up the debris.

"When you disposed of household chemicals a lot of them should not be disposed of in a debris pile, in a garbage pile or even in your garbage cans," said Capt. Windham. "There's a lot of stuff that by itself is okay, but when you mix it up with two or three different things can get real bad, real quick."

Battalion Chief Anthony Shook said, "Don't toss out any household chemicals any hazardous materials bug sprays, insecticides, paints, anything. Dispose of it properly through the county system."

To keep hazardous chemicals off the roadside, Harrison County collected those materials on the second Saturday of each month at the work center on Lorraine Road.

A Biloxi city spokesperson say two city workers were taken to the hospital, treated for exposure, and released.