The first fire unit on scene found a 55 gallon blue poly drum with dark orange-red smoke coming from it. There were also personnel around the barrel in chemical protective clothing. The personnel was from a local chemical disposal company, who were on scene consolidating chemicals for disposal.
The chemicals were from Advanced Composite Technologies at 345 Coney Island Drive. The chemical was reported to be nitric acid. This chemical had been used in the company’s manufacturing process, and was labeled as waste. There were 18 one-gallon glass containers of this chemical for disposal.
During the transfer of the contents of these glass containers into a 55 gallon poly drum, a chemical reaction resulted causing the contents to fume and smoke. It is still unknown why this chemical reaction took place. The incident was upgraded to a Level II hazardous materials response, which dispatches the Regional Hazardous Materials Response Team. This team is made up of members from the Sparks and Reno fire departments, as well as members from the Washoe County Health Department.
After allowing the chemical reaction to dissipate, the Haz Mat Team sent in a two person entry team. Using a hand pump, the chemical was pumped into two similar containers that also contained water. This allowed the chemical to be diluted as it was being transferred.
After the successful transfer and dilution of the chemical, the situation was turned over to the Washoe County Health Department who will coordinate the disposal. All roads have been re-opened, and all business shelter-in-place recommendations have been canceled.