Three sent to hospital, store reopens after clean-up

Chemical spill in pharmacy closes Belfast Hannaford

Fri, 10/11/2013 - 5:00pm

    BELFAST - A chemical spill at Hannaford supermarket in Belfast sent three employees to the hospital and kept portions of the store closed from Thursday afternoon through late Friday morning.

    In a statement Friday, Hannaford Supermarkets said a compounding agent was accidentally spilled in the pharmacy during an inventory process. A representative of the company later clarified that the chemical was phenol, which he described as being used to make medicated cream.

    Belfast Fire and Rescue Department responded to the spill at 3:45 p.m. Thursday and notified state Department of Environmental Protection, according to the statement. Additionally three Hannaford employees who work in the pharmacy and were in the immediate area of the spill on Thursday were taken to Waldo County Hospital and released later the same day.

    The Pharmacy was closed for the remainder of the day on Thursday. The supermarket and pharmacy were closed on Friday until 11 a.m. to monitor clean-up and ensure air quality. MDEP was on-site Friday morning to determine that there were no health or safety issues requiring follow-up. 

    Speaking on Friday afternoon, Peter Blanchard, MDEP director of emergency services said roughly a half-liter of an aqueous phenol solution was spilled. Phenol vapors can irritate the eyes and respiratory tract, contact can irritate the skin.

    Blanchard said the material was removed from the site and properly disposed of.

    “The concentrations we saw were very low,” he said. “They cleaned it up and ventilated the store as a precaution.”

    Ethan Andrews can be reached at