MANCHESTER, NH – Safe Station, an in-take program for those seeking relief from addiction, and adjoining 1269 Cafe, an outreach to the homeless, were both evacuated Monday and will remain off limits, after an elevated presence of harsh chemicals was present in the building due to contractor work.
Fire crews responded to Serenity Place and 1269 Cafe at 351 Chestnut St., adjacent to fire department headquarters. The call was for a chemical smell and that people were reportedly feeling dizzy, with associated breathing issues. Multiple AMR ambulances and fire apparatus responded.
Upon arrival outside of the building crews detected elevated chemical readings, and pulled the fire alarm to evacuate the building. The building holds participants from MFD Safe Station and a cafe which serves meals to homeless people. Due to the transient nature of the people there was no idea how many people were in the building. MFD put on breathing apparatus and entered the building where they found chemical readings of 600 parts per million when the safe level is 25 parts per million.
AMR treated and evaluated victims while MFD checked the building for additional people.
A painting contractor had just finished coating the floors in an unoccupied area and completed the job 15 minutes before the issues. He returned to the scene and identified the two-part chemical used. MFD pulled the MSDS and information sheet indicating the building should not be occupied at time of application and for up to 14 hours after application.
MFD District Chief Michaels indicated the occupants will not be able to occupy the building for up to 48 hours or more. Also the Manchester health department on scene indicated all food which is not fully sealed in 1269 Cafe will have to be disposed of.
MFD Chief Goonan said those there from Serenity Place are being moved temporarily to 140 Central St.
At this time multiple fire and EMS units remain on scene.