Nitric acid spill at Gunnedah TAFE

SPECIALIST hazardous chemical crews were called to Gunnedah yesterday afternoon after an acid spill.

Fire and Rescue NSW received the triple-0 call from North West TAFE just after 1pm after reports of a nitric acid spill.

Fire Inspector Grant O’Regan said one person suffered acid burns as a result, and surrounding businesses were evacuated as a precaution.

“We were called to the chemical storage room at the TAFE after a couple of bottles of nitric acid were spilt,” he said.

“Crews rendered first aid until the ambulance arrived.”

A hazmat crew was called from Tamworth to back up two fire pumpers on the ground.

A man aged in his 40s was treated for minor burns and transported to Gunnedah hospital in a stable condition.

Inspector O’Regan said firefighters wore self-encapsulating suits with breathing apparatuses while mopping up the spill, which took about three hours.

“We set up the hazardous-material operation with firefighters in that gear to clean up the spill to render the area safe,” he said.

“It was quite a pure form of nitric acid, which intensified it.

“It’s a very delicate operation and you have to approach it very cautiously with the highest possible safeguards in place.”

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