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Police at Risk from Iced Tea

Posted on Aug 03 2008
News archive >> ODDITIES

A hazmat crew responded after an Exeter Township police officer investigating a burglary became nauseous when he poured out an old beverage container he had gathered as evidence. Police alerted the Reiffton Fire Company, which then called for Berks County Emergency Management personnel to examine what was left of the foul-smelling liquid. Brian Gottschall, deputy emergency management coordinator, said the substance was probably old iced tea that had fermented.

Officer Terry Reichart became nauseous when he poured the liquid onto the ground after leaving the abandoned St. Lawrence Carbonizing plant shortly before noon. Reichart, who is a dog-handling officer, was taken by ambulance to Reading Hospital for evaluation, then returned to duty in the afternoon. Reichart’s police dog, Vinn, remained in the car and did not appear to suffer any ill effects. However, police had the dog evaluated by a veterinarian as a precaution.

According to Johnson, Reichart was investigating a report of stolen copper from inside the building. He found the beverage container near where wiring had been stolen. Believing the container might contain fingerprints, Reichart carried it outside. When he poured the liquid onto the ground, he was instantly hit by fumes. Johnson said police reacted properly by calling for fire and emergency medical personnel: “Not knowing what the substance might have been, we were just following procedure.”

The above report is reproduced from the Hazards Intelligence newsletter, HInt, with kind permission from Cris Whetton of ility Engineering.

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Last changed: Nov 02 2008 at 1:13 PM


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