UPDATED: Nelson house evacuated due to noxious fumes

The Nelson Fire Department believes the smell was caused by nitric acid on the premises.



Three people went to hospital Monday morning after being exposed to noxious fumes emanating from the basement of a Vernon St. home at the apex of the Cedar St. hill.

“We believe there’s nitric acid on the premises,” fire chief Len MacCharles told the Star on scene, while firefighters suited up in bright yellow hazmat suits.

The co-owner of the house discovered the chemical while cleaning but was not the one who was using it.

Police ensured everyone was out of the house and upwind of the chemicals by the time fire crews responded. Once it was determined that nitric acid, which is both explosive and corrosive, was potentially the source of the vapours, two additional firefighters were called to the scene and Nelson Hydro crews cut power to the home.

MacCharles said they took all necessary precautions before entering to remove the product. Inside they found a number of unlabeled containers, all with clear fluids inside, which were taken away for proper disposal.

“We haven’t evacuated around the building. We’ve informed individuals of what’s going on, but if there is any [material] it will disperse in the air. I don’t believe it’s a large quantity,” he said. “The owner will be going back in after we eliminate the product and ventilate [the home].”

He said the public was never at risk. By 3 p.m., the area around the house was re-opened to pedestrians.

Nelson police Sgt. Dino Falcone said Tuesday the owner has been allowed back in, but firefighters still had control of the scene and police can’t enter until they have clearance.

“We believe some copper wire was taken from the residence — wire used in normal household electrical,” he said. “We think [former tenants] used acid to take off the coating or insulation of copper wire and left with it.”

Falcone says a criminal investigation is underway, but while they have an idea who the previous tenants were, they haven’t yet been able to locate them. “It’s hard to pinpoint who was there,” he said. “We’re not 100 per cent sure.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Water quality advisory issued for Nelson

Run-off has created a high level of turbidity in the city’s drinking water

Evacuation orders for Duhamel, Salmo-Ymir and Crawford Creek rescinded

RDCK warns public that streams are still dangerous

Work begins on new affordable housing building in Nelson

The 39-unit project is expected to be complete by July 2021

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

COVID-19: B.C. landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Most Read