The Levin 1080 storage fire should have been a ‘notifiable incident’ with strict health & safety procedures in place

From NO to 1080 use in NZ Facebook community

What exactly happened at the fire at the Horizons Council depot Levin, in January? We know that 1080 and other poisons were kept there. We are not told how much, although it could have been up to 100 tonnes. We know that local residents were not aware of the potential dangers of the toxic fumes that may have reached their homes. Note that the council have admitted that “1080 [poison] casing was damaged in the fire.” We also know that the local DHB and therefore the Medical Officer of Health were not informed about the fire via Fire & EmergencyNZ, nor Horizons, nor WorksafeNZ. This should have been a ‘notifiable incident’ with strict health and safety procedures in place, including an evacuation plan for nearby residents and drainage facilities for the fire equipment that prevented contamination of the water-tables.

Will this ‘investigation’ result in any changes?

Police investigation begins four weeks after fire.

An investigation into the suspicious fire at Levin’s Horizons Regional Council depot was stalled for a month due to hazardous substances.

The January fire damaged property, equipment and vehicles stored at the depot.

It was confirmed by police that the depot had been broken into and a quad bike set alight.

Controversial pest control poison 1080 was stored at the depot along with herbicides for weeds, cyanide and rabbit toxins.

Horizons chief executive Michael McCartney confirmed that a 1080 casing was damaged in the fire.

Waste Management Technical Services recently removed and disposed of the hazardous substances, allowing Police to do an internal scene examination on Tuesday.

Mr McCartney said the removal was a complex and time-consuming task but it was now completed and all poisons accounted for.

He said the hazardous substances were not removed immediately following the fire to ensure their casings did not break.

“We did not want to risk moving them until we could ensure this could be done without risk to the environment or human health.”

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