Squirt gun fight between children prompts hazmat response, evacuations, in R.I. neighborhood

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (AP) — What started out as an innocent squirt gun fight between children turned into a potentially dangerous situation for a Woonsocket neighborhood. Firefighters on Sunday responded to reports of a strong smell of ammonia in the basement of a Grove Street home. Investigators told WPRI-TV they found a smoking 7-gallon barrel of sodium hydroxide, prompting a hazardous materials team response and the evacuation of three homes.

Sodium hydroxide, commonly used to clear drains, reacts strongly with water, creating an odor and heat.

Investigators determined that water dripped into the barrel during a kids' water gun fight in the basement.

The chemical was removed and no one was hurt.

The homeowner thinks the chemical was in the basement when he bought the home.


Information from: WPRI-TV, http://www.wpri.com