Hazardous Materials Unit investigates unknown substance that made man sick

A man was taken to hospital on Wednesday afternoon after he was sickened by a substance found in a truck that had been stolen and recovered.

Red Deer Emergency Services was called by RCMP after the recovered flatbed one-ton truck stolen truck was brought back by its owner to his business in a north Red Deer commercial area.

“They opened it up to clean it up and they got sick from the substance inside of it,” said Platoon Chief Sheldon Christensen.

It appears that when an attempt was made to clean up a sticky yellow substance with water a reaction occurred that created a colourless, odourless gas.

“The owner took the driver to hospital, then he started to experience some symptoms, soreness in his throat and eyes and that sort of thing,” he said.

The Hazardous Materials Response Unit was sent and 49th Ave. between 78th and 78A Street was cordoned off. Employees at two nearby buildings were evacuated while fire-medics investigated.

Christensen said the truck was isolated while the fire department tried to determine what the substance is. Poison and chemical experts have been consulted.

It is believed that the culprit may be phosphine or phosgene, both highly toxic gases.

“It’s contained within the vehicle right now and isolated. So it’s not causing any problems. It’s not going anywhere so for us that’s as safe as it can be right now.

“As soon as we open it up and start messing around with it we could potentially start to cause some exposures.

“We’re not in any hurry to do that right now. We’re just waiting to get some more information at this time.”



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