Man hospitalized, apartment building uninhabitable due to mercury contamination


FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Hazmat crews deemed an apartment building on Hamlet Street uninhabitable Saturday afternoon due to mercury contamination.

District Chief Michael Clark tells Eyewitness News, back on Jan. 25, a 51-year-old man tried to melt a couple of old fillings he likely believed were made of silver.

But it turns out, they were made of mercury. On Jan. 28, the man was hospitalized after feeling sick and has been receiving treatment there since.

“It was really strange the way that it happened like I said this started on Jan. 25 and we finally got the call to go down because nobody, they didn’t realize what was happening,” Clark said.

According to investigators, the man had obtained the fillings from his grandfather who was a dentist.

Since the initial incident, a dog and two cats from the apartment have died. Clark said the man’s girlfriend called the apartment management company who then called the fire department.

“There were elevated levels in the apartment and in the hallway and near the outer doors of the upper floor apartments too,” Clark said.

No one from the fire department tested positive for mercury, but a 17-year-old girl who was in the apartment did.

“She seemed to be in fine shape, but she was exposed to mercury so they had to test her further,” Clark said.

Clark said the management company has made living arrangements for residents. 

Before anyone can live in the home, Clark said a very specialized cleanup crew will have to clean the entire building, a very labor intensive operation.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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