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‘White powder’ sickens bus worker; prompts haz-mat response

September 19, 2018

HAMDEN - White powder found on the dashboard of a CT Transit bus sickened an employee at a bus depot Wednesday morning.

Not knowing what the substance was, Hamden police, the fire department and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to the State Street depot.

The incident was reported just before 10 a.m. Within minutes the worker was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital

Deputy Fire Chief Gary Merwede said the sick employee became ill while moving a bus. He told first-responders he noticed a “white substance” on the dashboard.

“The investigation with CT Transit managers revealed the former operator of the bus claimed to have used a powdered cleaning product to clean the bus following the shift,” Merwede said in a release.

“This was not able to be confirmed on site with no product container available. As a precautionary measure, DEEP was notified and requested to test the isolated substance to confirm that it was not hazardous.”

A DEEP official came to the scene with a specialized equipment to test the substance, which was confirmed to match the composition of the cleaning product, Ajax.

The bus was then released and the scene cleared shortly after noon.

“This emphasized the effective inter-agency communication and cooperation necessary to manage calls of this type,” Merwede said.

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