After receiving a 911 call on March 5th,2009, the Pasco County Fire Department responded to the site of Regency Artistic Metal Refinishing and found the owner unconscious. Firefighters entered the building and rescued the owner. The firefighters themselves were overcome by unknown fumes inside the facility. The Pasco County HAZMAT team responded to the site and entered the facility in proper PPE and discovered open plating vats,open 5 gallon pails of unknown liquids, and numerous 55 gallon drums. The HAZMAT team suspected acids and cyanide salts were present on site. They in turn requested assistance from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Emergency Response.
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FDEP and the Fire Department personnel secured the scene, including access. Outside the building air monitoring indicated acceptable quality ambient air.
On March 6th, FDEP Bureau of Emergency Response personnel returned to the Site to take mitigation actions pertaining to the release of hydrogen cyanide gas. Upon placing their air monitoring instruments under the doorway before entering the building, they received readings of hydrogen cyanide that were two times the IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health)levels for Hydrogen Cyanide. At that point, the FDEP personnel pulled back and ensured that the building was fully secured. They in turn requested assistance from the EPA/R4 Emergency Response and Removal Branch with the mitigation of the hazardous substance. The FDEP personnel advised Region 4 personnel that due to the dense population of residents nearby, it would be best to take response actions the following Monday, during regular working hours. It was agreed that FDEP would monitor the building over the weekend and that EPA personnel would mobe down March 8th so that response actions could take place starting the morning of March 9th.
On March 8th, Florida Outpost OSC Chris Russell, and Region 4 Atlanta OSC's Alyssa Hughes, and Ben Franco, along with 3 START Contract personnel mobed to the area and began response actions the morning of March 9th.
A Unified Command was established between the US EPA, Florida DEP Bureau of Emergency Response, Pasco County Emergency Management, a Representative of the Potentially Responsible Party, and the Pasco County Fire Department.