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Chemical reaction causing orange smoke, prompts public concern in Sudbury


A chemical reaction at an industrial business on Maley Drive in Greater Sudbury on Thursday which caused orange smoke across the city skyline has led to environmental and safety concerns in the community.

Fire and police were called to a Sudbury mining supply manufacturer after a chemical reaction caused employees to evacuate. (Photo courtesy of Michael Desserault)Greater Sudbury Fire Services advised the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks of the chemical spill on Thursday at Quatro Industries Limited – a specialty mining supply equipment manufacturer.

“The spill involved nitric acid that produced fumes due to a chemical reaction and an unknown amount of the nitric acid solution was spilled to ground in the company parking lot where it was neutralized,” said the ministry in a statement to CTV News.

“As reported by Greater Sudbury Fire Services, no off-site impacts are anticipated due to the spill.”

The company advised the Ministry of the Environment that soil cleanup was completed Friday by GFL Environmental.

“Ministry staff will be onsite next week to assess the cleanup and follow up with the company on the details of the spill,” a ministry spokesperson said in an email to CTV News.

“(We take) all spills and threats to the environment very seriously. Our role is to assess for any environmental impacts and ensure the responsible parties eliminate any adverse effects, clean up the spill, restore the natural environment and put measures in place to prevent future spills.”

Fire officials told CTV News that the chemical reaction occurred in a container that an acid product was being prepared in.

Fire and police were called to a Sudbury mining supply manufacturer after a chemical reaction caused employees to evacuate. Jan. 11/24 (Alana Everson/CTV News Northern Ontario)"That reaction caused a vapour cloud which was noticeable by individuals passing by and the establishment worked to put the product outside in a safe location," said Deputy Fire Chief Jesse Oshell during a phone interview with CTV News on Thursday.

Quatro staff moved the container outside as the toxic vapours posed a danger to the employees inside the building – the employees present were evacuated as a result.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the incident according to the city’s emergency personnel.

The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development was also notified about the chemical reaction and confirmed they have received no reports of injuries in an email to CTV News.

“A ministry inspector attended the workplace,” said a Ministry of Labour spokesperson.

“As the ministry’s investigation is ongoing, we are not able to provide further information at this time.”

The City of Greater Sudbury Fire Services' hazardous waste unit is on scene at Quatro Industries on Maley Drive after a chemical reaction while mixing an acid product caused an evacuation. Jan. 11/24 (Alana Everson/CTV News Northern Ontario)Fire services’ hazardous materials team was on the scene to assess the situation during the aftermath of the incident – they evacuated nearby establishments until crews could assess the risk.

"As there is no vapour cloud plume cloud or major reaction going on with the product there is at this time very low risk in the immediate area and no impact to the broader community around the businesses," Oshell said.

Officials with the Ministry of the Environment said they do not anticipate any off-site impacts due to the spill.

– With files from CTV News Northern Ontario videojournalist Alana Everson and Digital Content Specialist Chelsea Papineau Top Stories

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