Seven people have been hospitalised after a chemical spill in Laverton North.
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade was called to a depot of trucking company Toll Global Logistics after hydrofluoric acid was spilled at 10.48am.
There were 33 firefighters at the industrial property in Fitzgerald Road.
Five firefighters and two members of the public were taken to hospital as a precaution after they were affected by the fumes.
Hydrofluoric acid, a corrosive and poisonous chemical, was found to be leaking from a drum.
The acid can cause severe and extremely painful burns and even death, and is present in aluminium cleaners, stain removers and fluorine compounds.
It’s understood some workers were unpacking a container when they noticed a strange smell and discovered a leak, activating the emergency response.
In a statement, a Toll spokeswoman said safety and the safe handling of the goods was of paramount importance.
“Our Laverton North Global Logistics site is classed as a ‘major hazards facility’, licenced to safely handle hazardous goods,” she said.
“On Wednesday afternoon, staff at the site found that there had been a small leak in one of the containers they were moving. Toll’s standard emergency response procedures were immediately activated and we notified the relevant authorities who attended the scene. As per standard procedure, the area was isolated and staff were evacuated from the site.
“While there were no injuries, two staff members were taken to hospital for observation as a standard precaution and they are expected to be released soon.”
She said normal operations were expected to resume later on Wednesday afternoon.
MFB hazmat technicians and a scientific adviser were on the scene. Firefighters expected to remain on site for some time.
They were wearing breathing apparatus and fully encapsulated gas suits, alongside five pumpers and five other units.
-By Rachel Eddie, The Age