HAZMAT had to ventilate State Capitol overnight
BATON ROUGE – Firefighters specializing in dealing with hazardous materials spent Monday night ventilating parts of the State Capitol after an apparent malfunction of a fire suppression system.
Initially, fire crews were dispatched to the capitol when alarms sounded that a Halon device was triggered. Halon is a liquified, compressed gas that stops fire by chemically blocking combustion. Halon is used in areas where water or foam could damage assets being protected – computer equipment or communication devices. Once Halon evaporates, no residue is left behind.
Halon has been banned from production since 1994 because it can deplete the ozone layer but its use is grandfathered. It was not immediately clear how old the system was that was activated at the capitol.
Fire crews said no fire was found, but the device sprayed Halon in a computer closet near the State Senate chambers on the west side of the building.
Crews will air the area out and eventually allow regular operations to resume.
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