YORK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Two men collecting trash in a residential neighborhood were briefly hospitalized after they were overcome by toxic fumes emanating from garbage bags containing improperly disposed of hazardous chemicals.
York Fire Chief Chris Balentine says the men noticed a chemical cloud and smoke coming from the back of their garbage truck shortly after picking up bags set on the curb in front of 21 Carrie Lynn Lane early Friday morning. He says they quickly removed the bags to reduce the chances of their truck catching fire and called 911.
First responders decontaminated the men and treated them at the scene before transporting them to York Hospital where they received oxygen treatments before being released.
Chief Balentine says the homeowner had recently moved into the home and had decided to clear out some chemicals that were stored in the home without realizing what they were and their potential to cause a chemical reaction if they were combined.
Police closed down the street and evacuated a few of the neighboring homes while hazmat crews worked to investigate the situation and stabilize the chemicals.
Chief Balentine says the homeowner will not face any criminal charges, but may be required to pay for the response and clean-up costs. He says the incident should serve as a reminder to people to properly dispose of any hazardous materials.
"Use your town's hazmat disposal day, don't put it out to the trash because it can end up on like Route One or the Turnpike which could end up as a large road closure and possible contamination, above all to people and the environment," he said.