People at Skowhegan gas station get unpleasant surprise

6:55 PM, Mar 19, 2012   |    comments
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SKOWHEGAN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- People pumping gas at a station in Skowhegan Sunday afternoon received quite an unpleasant surprise.

The Skowhegan Fire Department says the fire-suppression system went off accidentally Sunday at the Irving station gas pumps on Madison Avenue just after 12:30 P.M. Sunday, and sent out a large cloud of white powder.

Fire Chief Tom Keene says the powder wasn't toxic but it can cause breathing problems.  Four people were taken to the hospital, but Chief Keene says they have all been released and are okay.   

Keene says the suppression system was set off accidentally and was caused by a short circuit.    

"From an eyewitness report yesterday, he said when the powder discharged, all of the sudden all of the people at the pumps he couldn't see.  He was driving by on Route 201.  He had no idea what had happened.  He just all of the sudden saw this white cloud coming at him," Chief Keene said.

As of Monday afternoon, the powder had been cleaned up and the gas station was back open.


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