Pesticide Causes A Hazmat Situation In Batavia

October 12, 2011 Updated Oct 12, 2011 at 7:52 PM EDT

By WKBW News


Pesticide Causes A Hazmat Situation In Batavia

October 12, 2011 Updated Oct 12, 2011 at 7:52 PM EDT

BATAVIA, NY ( WKBW / The Batavian ) Mysterious fumes in the air near Batavia shutdown Route 5 near Hopkins Road for several hours while emergency crews tried to figure out what was causing people to get physically ill.

Channel 7's Adam Francis and the team from The Batavian were on the scene when emergency crews scrambled to deal with a hazmat situation.

It all began in a field in Batavia, and ended when Mother Nature came in to save the day.

Just before 9a.m. Wednesday morning, employees of the Overhead Door Company in Batavia were overcome by a strange odor that filled the air inside their building. Workers there called the East Pembroke Volunteer Fire Company, saying that there was a strange odor in the area that smelled like chlorine, and burned the eyes and throat.

Tim Yeager, Emergency Manager for Genesee County told Eyewitness News, "Once the fire department was on location, they actually found a driver that was delivering some materials at the business had some eye irritation, and was nauseous, and then started to vomit."

The building was evacuated as was a residence next door.

A hazmat team determined that the cause of the problem was a nearby farmer's field that had just been sprayed with an agricultural fungicide, "The liquid actually off-gassed and because we've had so little wind lately, normally conditions carry those vapors away but with the humidity it just kind of left that vapor in this low lying area.", says Genesee County Emergency Manager Tim Yaegar.

Nearby residents were told to stay inside and shut their windows to avoid exposure to the chemical. Once the wind and rain picked up the irritating fumes dissipated. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation says the farmer was using the legal fungicide properly,
but without a change int he weather, the vapors didn't have a chance to dissipate.

A few hours after the initial call, the area was deemed safe. Those involved were treated and released at the scene.