WASILLA — The Clock Tower in downtown Wasilla was vacated as emergency response crews investigated airborne contaminants that ultimately sent several people to the hospital April 30.
Mat-Su Borough Emergency Services Director Ken Barkley said that first responders, including Mat-Su Central Fire Department and Borough EMS crews, arrived on the scene after receiving a call from someone inside the building who said they were feeling ill and concerned there was a leak.
The Clock Tower and surrounding block were sectioned off as the Borough Hazmat team investigated the source of the leak with Anchorage hazmat crews.
Other law enforcement agencies such as the Alaska State Troopers and the Wasilla Police Department were also on the scene directing traffic.
The leak turned out to be two different events, according to Barkley. He said that hazmat crews discovered that the contaminants were coming from a burnt belt on a heater motor and a sewer gas leak.
“So we were dealing with two problems,” Barkley said.
According to Barkley, The Clock Tower owners quickly repaired the issues. He said hazmat crews verified the readings Saturday morning, and shop owners were able to return to the building and resume business like normal.
Barkley said that emergency response crews handled the situation in a very effective and timely manner.
“It went as planned, as we practiced; a very, very special thanks to Anchorage hazmat team for coming out and assisting us, because we definitely needed their help. We appreciate it very much,” Barkley said.
Numerous building occupants were sent to the hospital for medical treatment as a result of the incident, but no major injuries have been reported as of Monday, May 3.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org