'Acid smell' leads to Haz Mat search

Two Albany garbage truck workers, overcome by chemical fumes today, are out of the hospital now and recovering.

HAZMAT workers sifted through the commercial garbage on their truck after the men complained on strong fumes. Turns out a household chemical sickened the workers.

The two workers smelled an acid-like odor in the cab of the commercial garbage truck. When they started having chest pains, they knew something was wrong.

As soon as the fumes filled the truck, the two workers felt the effects.

"Complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath," said Assistant Albany Fire Chief Rubin Jordan.

The two workers said they smelled an acid like chemical while picking up commercial trash. "There could have been some residue left in the chemicals and they could have mixed, and somehow ventilated into the compartment,"  Jordan said.

A Hazardous Materials crew suited up to inspect the commercial garbage truck and the trash inside of it. "Usually in HAZMAT you want to isolate and then try to identify and as you can see we have it isolated, there is no vapor, coming from anywhere in this garbage pile,"  Jordan said.

The HAZMAT team takes every precaution possible to make sure the public is safe. "Our main thing is public safety, we have got to take it to the full extreme, we want to make sure, that it is the least harmful to the public as possible."

They found multiple bottles of bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and other cleaning materials. The acid smell turned out to be residue from these household cleaning products. "It is nothing but spent household chemicals."

They washed down the truck to clean it of any chemicals. The trash will be kept isolated for a few days to air out. Another extra precaution the HAZMAT team takes to ensure public safety. Their injuries are not life threatening, doctors might want to keep them overnight for observation.

Most Albany firefighters are trained for hazardous materials operations and are ready in case of a hazmat emergency. @

Copyright 2012 WALB. All rights reserved.