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Hazardous Materials Leak
updated: Feb 11, 2013, 7:48 PM

Source: the Santa Barbara County Fire Department

At 3:54 pm, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department (SBCFD) responded to a hazardous materials leak, located at 7095 Marketplace Drive in Goleta (Costco). SBCFD responded four engines, an Air/Light Unit, a Hazardous Materials Team, and three chief officers to the scene. An American Medical Response ambulance was called to stand by.

Upon arrival to the scene, firefighters found the building with its evacuation plan initiated. Employees described a leak in the refrigeration unit. Firefighters shut down the compressors and the leak stopped. R-22 is a flammable gas that is 3.5 times heavier than air. Firefighters are putting together a ventilation plan. APDC has been notified. One employee was assessed at the scene and released.

As of 6:20pm, the ventilation of the building has been successful. Resources are being released and employees will be returning to the store soon.

The cause of the leak is unknown.

Costco is being evacuated for a gas leak. Full fire is in response and then some. (02/12/13)
2677 20

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 373496 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 08:12 PM

Freon leaked at Costco.

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 08:36 PM

Glad I wasn't there..

 

 COMMENT 373523P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 09:20 PM

I overheard some pretty upset people discussing this, giving no account to what could've happened if it wasn't taken care of properly.

 

 COMMENT 373529P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-11 09:39 PM

I was wondering if R-22 (Freon) was flammable as stated in the press release. A literature review reveals that at standart atmospheric pressures R-22 is not flammable.

 

 COMMENT 373554 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 06:05 AM

R-22 Freon leak isn’t that big of a deal, as long as people don’t panic. It would take a huge leak and supply volume to cause medical issues. However, if this were ammonia refrigerant (used at some stores for refrigerator cases) then results could’ve been very serious, or even deadly.

 

 COMMENT 373606 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 08:13 AM

R-22 can be explosive if mixed with air under pressure (such as a cowboy refrigeration tech refilling a system without properly purging first) but is generally not too dangerous unless a lot of it fills up a basement that is occupied by people who need oxygen rather than R-22 to breath.

Still, it is hard to be sure how safe or dangerous a gas leak is until it is checked out thoroughly by a pro.Good job SB FD.

 

 COMMENT 373611P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 08:32 AM

My wife and I had just arrived to pick up some supplies. As we headed down the main aisle past the cameras, you could hear a very loud hissing sound coming from the rear of the store. As we made our way toward the rear, we could see what looked like steam rising from the refrigeration units that houses the vegetables. All of the Costco shoppers were calmly headed toward the front of the store. Several Costco employees headed against the tide toward the rear of the store. As we headed toward the front, I noticed the entry door was closed and staff were shepherding people slowly out the exit door. While some staff did well to remove shoppers from the rear store area, there seemed to be a lack of a clear coordinated and timely evacuation. People were still checking out as if nothing were wrong. Also, the fact that the front door was closed to prevent shoppers from entering set up an evacuation hazard. Did the Costco employees do a good job? Yes. Could it have been better and more timely? Absolutely.

 

 COMMENT 373647P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 09:37 AM

I always wonder what would happen to the mile high stacks of stuff during an earthquake. Would all the stuff coming raining down on the customers and employees?

 

 COMMENT 373701 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 11:35 AM

That store with all that stacked up merchandise definitely makes me nervous. I spend as little time in there as possible.

 

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