EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

January 15, 2013

Gas tank leak forces evacuation of Pentucket Medical building

HAVERHILL — More than 100 staff members and patients at Pentucket Medical on 1 Park Way were evacuated for about 40 minutes while firefighters investigated a leaking tank of gas used to test pulmonary, or lung, functions.

At around 1 p.m., staff in the medical facility heard a hissing sound coming from a lab on the second floor.

They called the vendor that owns the tank and the fire department, according to Dep. Fire Chief Eric Tarpy and Pentucket Medical spokesman Bill Plante.

The Fire Department ordered the building evacuated.

Nobody was injured but a couple of staff members were checked to see if they had an ill effects as a result of exposure to the gas mixture, which is used to test pulmonary patients, Plante said. He said the gas leaked out of a cracked regulator on top of the tank.

Tarpy said the gas, in small amounts, is harmless, but could be harmful in large doses.

The room is self-venting, so that when gas was released it was vented from the room to the outside of the building.

Everyone has been allowed back in the building, Plante said.

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