By Gina Yarbrough
Oceanside, CA–Fire crews and an Haz Mat team contained a hazardous spill of Isoflurane that exposed two employees at a veterinary hospital on Saturday in Oceanside, said the Oceanside Fire Department.
The incident was reported around 12:45 p.m. by employees at the Mission Animal and Bird Hospital, located at 655 Benet Road.
According to fire officials, an employee had dropped a vial of Isoflurane, a commonly used general anesthetic, which is safe for use in small doses, but toxic in large quantities. One employee was directly exposed to the skin and respiratory tract. Additional employees came to assist the exposed employee and one additional employee became exposed as well.
Oceanside fire crews arrived at the scene and cordoned off the area where the spill had occurred. They began assisting the exposed employees with decontamination efforts. The ventilation system within the building was shut down to limit the spread of toxic gasses, and the business was temporarily closed to the public while mitigation efforts were underway. Fire crews upgraded the response to include a total of two ambulances, the San Diego County Hazardous Material Response Team, a County of San Diego Environmental Health duty officer, an Oceanside Fire Department battalion chief, and an investigator.
Paramedics treated one employee and transported the victim by ambulance to a local emergency room. A second employee was evaluated and released. The Haz Mat team cleaned up the spill and secured the hazardous materials in a vessel for proper disposal.
Each year, the Oceanside Fire Department responds to approximately 150 non-fire-related hazardous conditions, including hazardous material releases. Any unknown hazardous substance release should be taken seriously and any resident encountering a hazardous material release should contact 911, and remove themselves from the area to avoid exposure.