Two people are recovering Friday after suffering injuries from a Halon tank incident at the Harriman campus. Our Innae Park has the story.
"It's gonna sound like an explosion. It's gonna feel and act like an explosion," explained Paul Martin. He works for the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control.
Although it's not considered an explosion, two people were seriously hurt Thursday night.
They were removing a halon tank from building 12 on the Harriman campus when something went wrong.
"Something occurred with the valve allowing the sudden decompression of the cylinder and the sudden release of the contents of the cylinder," said Martin. "Gas as it's released is very cold. That resulted in thermal burn to the other individual being treated."
The other man broke his leg when the 500-pound cylinder moved. Both men worked for SimplexGrinnell. The company was ordered to remove the unused tank from the building.
Over the past decade, the state has been decommissioning the gas used to extinguish fire.
Martin explained, "Halon, by its chemical properties, causes problems with the ozone layer And because of the Montreal Protocol, been deemed to be a controlled substance. So really, the country is moving to the recovery of all halon, and moving to different kind of fire suppression system. That's been occurring over the last few years."
Not all buildings are halon-free. However, officials say any system with halon will have the proper precautions in place.
"Usually sends a pre-alert to the occupants in the room for them to leave the room before it actually discharges. It does not pose a danger to occupants of buildings where it's currently still installed," Martin noted.
That was the last tank of halon from building 12. Officials are still investigating how the valve got loose.