Water fight leads to chemical scare

May 25, 2010 at 4:25 PM
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WOONSOCKET, R.I., May 25 (UPI) -- Rhode Island firefighters said water from a water gun fight between children dripped into a barrel of sodium hydroxide and set off a hazardous chemical scare.

Firefighters said Woonsocket resident Taronda Robinson called 911 at about 3 p.m. Sunday and reported a strong smell of ammonia coming from her basement, WPRI-TV, Providence, R.I., reported Tuesday.

The firefighters said they found a 7-gallon barrel of sodium hydroxide with smoke coming from it in the basement. The home and two others nearby were evacuated and Grove Street was closed while hazmat crews spent 5 hours removing the barrel and letting the fumes dissipate.

They said sodium hydroxide, commonly used as a drain cleaner, reacts strongly with water. The firefighters said water dripped into the barrel as a result of a water gun fight between neighborhood kids.

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