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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

Summer Street Sulfuric Acid Fire

Summer Street Sulfuric Acid Fire

EPA conducted an emergency response to a potential sulfuric acid release inside a facility caused by an uninterrupted power supply battery explosion.  The Boston Fire Department reported an initial explosion, fire and smoke. The immediate area of the facility within the building was evacuated. The site is a large data bank-type operation, with many server racks and storage units with cabling, uninterrupted power supplies and other such components within a secure area of the building.  There are robust HVAC facilities as well.  Located on the fourth floor of a six-story retail building, the retail operation occupies part of the building, and the other areas have been renovated as offices and large IT/Data processing centers. The impacted portion of the building was near the intersection of Summer and Chauncy Streets in downtown Boston.

After the fire, an aerosolized sulfuric acid exposure, smoke, fire and explosion as well as potential electric shock from the batteries was reported. The primary hazard was to personnel working in the immediate area. When the On-Scene Coordinator arrived, the fire was out, the smoke cleared, the site ventilated and the scene secured.  The Boston Fire Department was demobilized, and the property manager and firm planned to handle the inspection / repair of the battery and its disposal, if required.

Location: Boston, MA
Start date: 04/01/2009
End date: 04/01/2009
Contact: Claudia Deane (deane.claudia@epa.gov)

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