A Horowhenua fire in January destroyed a Horizons storage depot containing ‘highly toxic’ 1080 pesticide

‘Highly toxic’ according to the manufacturer’s 1080 data sheet which also warns: Do not burn the product as highly toxic hydrogen fluoride gas may be released. The Horowhenua DC didn’t even know there had been a fire until one week later.

FIRE FIGHTING MEASURES:
The pellets have a low flammability risk unless pre-heated, however the thermal decomposition (burning) of products containing sodium fluoroacetate (1080) releases
hydrogen fluoride gas which is very toxic. Emergency response and firefighting measures for major fires should be taken only by trained professionals using SCBA. Evacuation of adjacent and downwind premises will be necessary in the case of large fires involving 1080 products. Hazchem is 2XE. Data Sheet

The article below doesn’t clearly state whether the baits were burned or not although it’s stated there was no risk to environment or health as “all run-off associated with putting out the fire was contained onsite”. So there was contaminated water presumably but what of the air? Was anybody reading this warned of any inherent breathing dangers during the fire? One person on social media has reported health effects including headaches, kidney pains, nausea and tiredness. I assume they wish to remain anonymous as they’ve not responded to my questions.

According to the data sheets, storers should DEFINITELY be letting people in near proximity know about stored 1080, at the very least by signage, and the Fire Chiefs should be notified so if there is a fire they won’t be endangered by 1080 contact. An OIA request by NO to 1080 use in NZ has revealed that the HDC (Horowhenua DC) did not know of the fire until a week later! (See article below). * Curious given they are all under the same umbrella.

If you live in the vicinity of where this fire took place and you have unexplained health issues from that date (19 January 2018) this could shed some light on things… you should seek medical help. Symptoms of poisoning from the data sheet are as follows:  Nausea, vomiting, tingling and numbness in face and hands, stomach pains, apprehension and anxiety. Later Symptoms: Muscular twitching, blurred vision, mental confusion. Severe Symptoms: Coma, convulsions

This all highlights the dangers of storage of this poison. Were any Horowhenua people warned that 1080 was stored in Levin? I’m keen to hear. This is particularly important if the storage site is in or adjacent to residential areas without the public knowing, as per the recent discovery in the Whitianga CBD. In that instance a person in a neighbouring house could smell the cinnamon from the baits as they were being unloaded (described in the video here), and not in accordance with DoC’s own rules.

It must be remembered that sodium monofluoroacetate (Compound 1080) is a World Health Organisation Class 1A Eco-toxin, with no known antidote, and banned in most countries.

Note to Horowhenua & Kapiti residents: There was to be an aerial drop of 1080 further south of Levin some time this month (Feb 2018) however this may not happen it seems. DoC’s website will have details of that. Educate yourself on the dangers of 1080 because mainstream is not. Watch the doco ‘Poisoning Paradise’  …  you’ll learn some truth about 1080 in our waterways and the non removal of carcasses from those by the authorities. More than just target species are killed and many folk have lost their pet dogs to 1080. See our 1080 pages and search for articles on topic under ‘categories’ at left of the front page.

 

Here are the articles from mainstream about the Levin fire:

NZ Herald

A fire at Horizons Regional Council’s pest control depot in Levin has sparked an investigation.

Controversial pest control poison 1080 was stored in a Levin depot that was burgled and torched last week.

The fire tore through the Horizons Regional Council depot on Thursday night, destroying equipment and melting vehicles.

Fire services put out the blaze, but police said there were also signs of a burglary.

Horizons Regional Council chief executive Michael McCartney said the council was alerted to the fire early on Friday morning.

Manawatu Detective Sergeant Philip Skoglund said someone had cut through the yard’s wire fence the same night, and the building had been forced open.

“There looks like there may have been some items removed but we are not sure what they are,” he said.

Skoglund said the burglar may have forced access to a commercial fridge but that was yet to be determined.

“At this point it looks to be suspicious,” he said.

A burglar may have forced access to a commercial fridge, but this was yet to be determined.

A neighbour said he believed that the refrigerator contained 1080 but, after questions from the Horowhenua Chronicle, McCartney confirmed on Tuesday 1080 was held in a secure pesticide store in the building, though not in the fridge.

He said Horizons was still taking an inventory of items after the fire, but “all run-off associated with putting out the fire was contained onsite and there are no environmental or health concerns”.

READ MORE

http://www2.nzherald.co.nz/tcn-environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1504247&objectid=11980969

RELATED

http://www.horizons.govt.nz/news/fire-at-horizons-depot-overnight

https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/100710156/horizons-council-staff-have-to-work-offsite-after-fire-at-levin-depot

* Hot off the press and highly relevant as a follow-up to the Whitianga court case: An OIA response from Mid Central DHB regarding the fire in the warehouse in Levin last month, which contained 1080 poison, has revealed that the council did not know about the fire until the newspaper reports a week later! The Medical Officer of Health (who is required to make the call about whether an evacuation or other action is an advisable precaution for local residents’ safety), was therefore not even aware of the potential dangers.

Quote: ” In this particular incident, our service (DHB) was not notified by Fire and Emergency New Zealand; we became aware of the event through a subsequent media release. No information was supplied to the Medical Officer of Health at the time of the fire, and consequently no risk assessment was undertaken.”

This beggars belief at the level of incompetence that continues to put us all in danger. We do not know how MUCH poison was stored there, but under the new H&S legislation, there could have been up to 99 tonnes of cereal bait stored without any notification to Fire and Emergency NZ.

Here’s a thought: What would have happened if the 1080 poison stored at Whitianga CBD had caught light, with supermarkets, cars and houses all around it? Wouldn’t we assume that a H&S and firefighters’ protocol had been followed and an emergency call had been made to the local council and DHB Medical Officer? Time is of the essence in events like this, which can change in an instant.

Has NOTHING been learned from that tragic event in 1984 (p7 at the link) where the fire in ICI’s hazardous chemicals warehouse in Auckland caused so much harm (and maybe still is today, through contamination of the site, landfill and water)?

No to 1080 use in NZ (Facebook page)


UPDATE:

Horowhenua’s Mayor Michael Feyen has posted on his FB page a video saying this will be investigated. He has historically been a whistleblower prior to becoming Mayor and currently, if you follow the HDC events, is frequently asked by HDC councillors to resign. Our Local Govt Watch pages provide info on that. Watch for more updates.


For further info on the still unfolding Whitianga incident over stored 1080 go here. 
Or use categories (left of page) or the search box.

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5 thoughts on “A Horowhenua fire in January destroyed a Horizons storage depot containing ‘highly toxic’ 1080 pesticide”

  1. Thank you Pam, for asking these questions. I think this pattern of incompetence and negligence is all over the country where 1080 is stored pre-drop. The secrecy of the storage, the lack of emergency response plans and the hiring of untrained aggressive security guards are doing DoC’s “social licence to operate” no good at all !

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK1802/S00651/assault-charge-dismissed-against-coromandel-1080-activist.htm

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