Fifteen Hopkins County firefighters and volunteer firefighters were at CHRISTUS Mother Francis Sulphur Springs Hospital Emergency Room following a structure fire on FM 71 in the Emblem Community Wednesday. The ER tested each firefighter after it was discovered that a 55-gallon drum of formaldehyde had been leaking in the workshop where the fire occurred, according to Andy Endsley, Hopkins County Fire Chief.
Firemen from Hopkins County Fire Department and volunteers from North Hopkins and Cumby responded to the fire when a structure attached to a hay barn was found to be on fire. Other volunteer organizations were responding but were called off when it became apparent the barn was not in danger.
The property was being rented but the workshop was being used by the owner of the property. In the workshop the formaldehyde barrel had been pierced by a 22-caliber bullet causing the leaking of the formaldehyde. Concerns of formaldehyde laced smoke inhalation necessitated the trip to the Emergency Room. The owner of the property will be responsible for the haz-mat cleanup of the area. The formaldehyde had not only leaked in the workshop but also along the route taken by the renters who knew of the barrel in the workshop. They had removed the barrel from the workshop when the fire developed.