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L.A. firefighters respond to hazardous materials investigation

On Monday, February 27, 2006 at 1:55 p.m., three companies of Los Angeles firefighters, two LAFD rescue ambulances, one hazardous materials task force, one EMS battalion captain and one battalion chief officer command team under the direction of Battalion Chief Michael Arguelles responded to a hazardous materials investigation near 400 West Exposition Boulevard in the Exposition Park area.

Firefighters arrived quickly during a period of heavy rain to discover two 55-gallon drums that had fallen from the rear of a delivery truck entering the sloped onramp to the northbound 110 (Harbor) Freeway from eastbound Exposition Boulevard.

According to witnesses, one of the drums was immediately righted and remained intact, while the other barrel leaked approximately 25 gallons of a 75% solution of Phosphoric Acid.

Though there were no injuries and evacuation was not necessary, firefighters established a perimeter for traffic and crowd control in the immediate area.

No freeway lane closure was required.

Firefighters obtained shipping papers and interviewed the driver while LAFD Hazardous Materials experts affirmed the product identity and sought to control its spread. It was soon determined that the product had entered the storm drain system prior to the fire department's arrival and that the scene represented no escalating hazard.

In the midst of severe rain and pursuant of protocol, firefighters notified environmental officials, including the Department of Fish and Game, the United States Coast Guard, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works as well as the Los Angeles County Fire Department Health Hazardous Materials Division, who were to handle the investigation.

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