The Aegis

Aberdeen fire, county Hazmat, respond to Clorox after fire suppression system activated Sunday

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It wasn't for a scene from the 1950s horror sci-fi flick "The Blob," when Aberdeen firefighters and Harford County Hazmat personnel responded to the Clorox manufacturing facility on Perryman Road Sunday morning and found foam slithering around the building.

Responders did not find any chemical leak or other public hazard, however, according to county officials.


Dan Rein, plant manager for Clorox Aberdeen, said no one was hurt and there was no damage to the facility.

"Nothing was negatively impacted by the event," he said Tuesday. "We're just doing the appropriated follow up on it now."


Steve Hinch, chief of the Aberdeen Fire Department, said Monday that firefighters were alerted at 5:46 a.m. Sunday regarding an automatic fire alarm at The Clorox Company household products plant, in the 1300 block of Perryman Road.

No one was working in the plant over the weekend, but security personnel on site allowed firefighters to enter the building and inspect the fire alarm panel.

Hinch said the alarm panel showed the sprinklers and foam fire suppression system had been activated in the plant's "fragrance room.".

"Once they gained access to that area, they did see water flowing and foam on the ground," Hinch said of the fragrance room.

Robert Thomas, spokesman for the Harford County Department of Emergency Services, said Sunday morning he had been told some of the fire suppression foam had escaped the building but remained on the property.

Hinch explained that firefighters contacted the county's Hazmat team to contain the water from the sprinklers and foam which had moved onto Perryman Road, to keep it from getting into storm drains and then local waterways.

"We did not want to have an environmental issue," Hinch said.

An overturned storage drum was also found in the fragrance room.


Clorox staffers responded to the scene, and informed first responders that the drum was "already declared empty and free of product."

Hinch said the drum served as a spare tank.

Thomas said the Hazmat team was contacted around 7 a.m. Sunday. Team members did not find a chemical leak or a "hazard to the public," and the team departed after 30 minutes, he wrote in an e-mail Tuesday.

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"The [fire suppression] foam dissipated and did not present any special hazards," Thomas wrote.

The building was turned over to the Clorox representatives to complete the cleanup and reset the fire suppression systems, Hinch said.

Hinch said the company is investigating how the fire alarm was activated and how the container fell over.


The Clorox company, headquartered in Oakland, Calif., operates a manufacturing plant, where its household cleaning products are made, in Perryman south of Aberdeen.

Rein said bleach and liquid Clorox, used as a laundry brightener and stain remover, are made in the Perryman plant.

The company also has a distribution center in northeast Aberdeen.

The plant manager said company officials are working with the engineering firm that designed the fire suppression system to determine what caused it to activate.