West Columbia, SC (Paul Kirby) – The staff of the Lexington Medical Center requested the assistance of the Lexington County Fire Service after a small quantity of what was described as a paint thinner like material was spilled Tuesday morning. Fire service hazardous materials units were dispatched shortly after 9 a.m. to help deal with the release.
According to Jennifer Wilson, a spokesperson for LMC, about 5 gallons of the material was spilled in the recycling room on the bottom floor of the north tower. The liquid was caught by a containment system that worked as it was designed to and kept the material from spreading from the immediate area.
Wilson said that the recycling room is a negative pressure room. Negative pressure rooms have less air pressure than the rest of the building. This negative pressure is maintained by mechanical equipment. If fumes were to escape their primary container, the positive pressure in the rest of the building would ensure that the fumes didn’t migrate into those areas. These rooms also vent to the outside where vapors have more room to dissipate harmlessly.
According to Wilson, no patients or staff were harmed as a result of the spill. No patients were evacuated from the building and daily operations went on as usual during the incident.
First due crews from Corley Mill and Lexington were supported by special hazardous material crews from Round Hill, Swansea, and other stations across the county.
Just after 11:00 a.m., fire fighters and their support crews were picking up and preparing to leave the medical center to return to their stations Wilson said.