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Chemical spill at mill

FIREFIGHTERS were called to the Juken New Zealand mill in McDonald Road at Matawhero yesterday afternoon to deal with a major chemical spill.

They were there until 9.30pm making the situation safe.

A worker at the plant was treated by St John ambulance staff after being affected by fumes from the spill. He did not need to go to hospital.

Fire and Emergency NZ sent five appliances to the plant at around 3.30pm.

Workers in that area of the mill were evacuated.

A senior firefighter said around 12,000 litres of a chemical used in the plywood treatment process spilled from a storage tank inside the mill.

“Fortunately the spill was contained in a walled-off area, and none of it escaped elsewhere inside the plant.”

The firefighters, wearing chemical splash suits and breathing apparatus, covered the spilled chemical with water.

“The chemical was giving off fumes, so the priority was to stop that happening,” the senior firefighters said.

“An inquiry is under way into how the spill occurred.”