Six people have been rushed to the hospital following a chemical incident in Balclutha, south of Dunedin.
The incident, which is being called a gas leak, happened at the Clutha District Council building.
Balclutha Chief Fire Officer Graeme Ferguson told reporters that the staff smelled a “sulfur-like odour,” so they called emergency services.
It was later revealed that the smell came from a battery. “Everything is sealed inside [the battery] and it has split under pressure, which evidently they are inclined to do,” said Mr Ferguson.
Staff in the building were then evacuated. It was discovered afterward that some staff felt unwell, with some feeling headaches and nausea. Six were taken to the hospital, but it was later revealed by a St John Ambulance spokesman that all of them had minor symptoms.
According to Ian Henderson, Communications Adviser in St John, there were between 30 to 40 people involved. “We transported six patients to Clutha Hospital for further assessment. All had minor symptoms,” he added.
Stuff reported that firefighters discovered that the battery, which is a part of the building’s power supply, had leaked acid.
Council chief executive Steve Hill said that they didn’t expect that any member of the public who visited the building before evacuation were significantly exposed. He, however, said that anyone who is concerned of their health should see a doctor.
The battery has already been removed, and the building has been ventilated.