On December 4, 2019 the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (Mass DEP) notified EPA of a significant incident involving a release of carbon monoxide and possibly other chemicals, including ammonia, at a large 4 story multi use commercial building in Salem, MA. There are numerous tenants in the commercial building which were evacuated and adjacent to this building is a school which has approximately 400 students.
Local media reported that a total of five people were transported to several hospitals. Other individuals were treated at the scene.
Earlier in the day several occupants of the commercial building became ill and the fire department requested a Tier 1 hazmat team response from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services. Screening of the indoor air using handheld meters detected elevated carbon monoxide concentrations at a company which occupies the fourth floor. Ammonia was also detected using colorimetric tests on the fourth floor.
Mass DEP deployed two responders who obtained air samples which were analyzed using a GC/MS. Those results identified primarily carbon monoxide.
An EPA Region One OSC was dispatched to the incident to provide technical assistance to MassDEP and the Incident Commander. EPA coordinated with USCG Sector Boston as the incident is located in the AOR, OSHA and Department of Homeland Securtiy CFATS programs.