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Bank Evacuates After Suspicious Chemical Found

August 23, 2012, 5:01 PM by Don Jorgensen

Bank Evacuates After Suspicious Chemical Found

A Wells Fargo bank in Sioux Falls had to be evacuated after a suspicious substance was discovered inside the building.

As it turns out, the timing of the call couldn't have come at a better time for the Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Hazmat Team.

What started out as a training day for Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Hazmat crews turned into the real thing at the Wells Fargo Bank on South Cliff Avenue.

"A Wells Fargo personnel found a liquid substance on the tile floor in front of the teller row," Battalion Chief Steve Brunette said.

Ironically, the bio-hazardous material crews were conducting training at another site when the call came in, so they were already suited up and ready to go.

"We left one team at the drill to finish the drill. We took one team to operate here," Brunette said.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue says it responds to every call as if it's the real thing, so firefighters weren't taking any chances. The health department and an ambulance were also called in and put on standby.

As employees of the bank evacuated, crews did a quick field test on the liquid substance.

"We found it was not an acid. It's not a base. It's not an oxidizer. It is miscible, which means it mixes with water. It's not a flammable, not a combustible, basically it means it's not hazardous at all," Brunette said.

Even though employees left the building, they were not allowed to leave the site just in-case.

"They had no adverse health effects, we kept all the personnel from Wells Fargo right here so we could watch them," Brunette said.

This is the second time in six months the hazmat team has been called away from training to respond to an actual emergency, but as it turns out, this emergency was good training as well.

"Everything worked out well, all the crews did a good job and the results were what we were expecting," Brunette said.

Anytime the hazmat crews conduct training, they leave one team "in service" at all times to operate within Sioux Falls.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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