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UPDATE: Refrigeration Leak Detected at Mooseheart, Hazmat Advisory Team Sent Back

About 100 adults were evacuated Friday after initial reports of a possible Freon leak at Mooseheart.

About 100 adults were evacuated from a Mooseheart administrative building by  4:40 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, following a report of a possible Freon leak, Mooseheart officials said.

The evacuation was from the Moose International headquarters building, the easternmost building on the campus of Mooseheart Child City & School.

Officials at 5:30 p.m. actually discovered a minor refrigeration leak, a Tri-Com command report said. Batavia Battalion Chief Ed Jancauskas confirmed the minor leak and said that a mechanical engineer was at the scene late Friday afternoon looking at the building's system.

"There was ... nothing obvious that was leaking," Jancauskas said. "It could have just been something small that set the alarm off."

There was also no visible damage, but the engineer will determine if there's a problem, he said.

An initial Tri-Com Dispatch report indicated a possible chemical spill, and Batavia emergency services requested a Hazmat advisory team report to the scene at 3 S 300 Batavia Ave.

Since the actual situation was unknown at the time, the advisory team was contacted. Once the fire crews saw it was minor, the advisory members were called off.

The Evacuation

A Mooseheart spokesperson said roughly 100 employees had been evacuated from the building shortly before 4:30 p.m. as fire alarms sounded. Employees were told of "possible chemical release" emanating from the fourth-floor lunch/break room.

Any leak of potentially hazardous chemicals was confined to this structure—roughly 500 yards from the closest children's residential structure. At no time were any children remotely in danger, Mooseheart officials said.

The fourth-floor lunch/break room at Moose International headquarters contains a residential-style refrigerator/freezer and a commercial-grade soft-drink vending machine, side by side; with presence of Freon possible in both machines.

Employees were told at approximately 4:35 p.m. to quickly re-enter the building to gather belongings and depart for the day; this approximately as personnel were arriving. Closing time at Moose International headquarters is 4:45 p.m.

Advisors from Geneva, Batavia, Elburn, Sugar Grove, Montgomery, Aurora and other departments were requested to report to the scene.

An earlier Tri-Com scanner message reporting from the scene indicated that "some type of Freon leak on the third floor" was taking place at one of the buildings on the Mooseheart campus.

Freon is a coolant or refrigerant used in air conditioners or refrigerators to cool the air.

Mooseheart is a residential childcare facility, located on a 1,000-acre campus 38 miles west of Chicago, between Batavia and North Aurora. The Child City is a home for children and teens in need, from infancy through high school, according to the Mooseheart website.

Rudolph S Caparros Jr December 21, 2012 at 09:50 PM
HazMat Experts and Firefighters petition Dow Chemical and Union Pacific for safe rail tank cars transporting gas chlorine. Secondary containment is a necessary improvement that must be implemented. See--PETITION C KIT for First Responders Comments.

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