Store’s hazmat scare draws Customs, Homeland Security

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Submitted: Thu, 03/15/2012 - 7:42pm
Updated: Fri, 03/16/2012 - 1:07pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A scare at a Wilmington business this morning. Jugs of liquid found in a shipping container led to an evacuation, while police, US Customs and even Homeland Security got involved.

It started off as a normal morning at New River Pottery on Market Street. A new shipment of rattan furniture came in, so employee Lenwood Mills began unloading it.

“I opened it up, and soon as we looked down to the left there was a container of three bottles that were strapped together,” Mills said. “The funny thing about it is there was a small bottle strapped on top turned upside down.”

The store called police, and it didn’t take long before firefighters, EMS and a hazmat team arrived. They evacuated the store.

“They quarantined me and the other guy mainly because we had touched the substance with our bare hands,” Mills said.

This shipping container came through the State Port of Wilmington, which raised a red flag with customs and the department of homeland security.

“We started looking at the manifest bill of lading. This particular container was not listed on the bill of lading on the manifest, and we became concerned, and obviously US Customs became concerned as well,” Wilmington Fire Department Battalion Chief Jimmy Casteen said.

The hazmat team was able to remove a sample of the liquid from the jugs, which they tested on site to determine what exactly was in them. Turns out, it’s not a threat. The liquid appears to be a type of finishing product used on wicker furniture. The fire department says it likely was locked up accidentally in the shipping container in Indonesia and shipped overseas.

Employees and customers were allowed back in the building around 12:30 p.m.

Casteen says US customs will still likely investigate.

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12 Comments on "Store’s hazmat scare draws Customs, Homeland Security"

2015 years 8 months ago

Guest1946 – I would never recommend posting your contact information here, but you should call Wilmington Fire and give them your name and number and let them know you can handle all future HAZMAT situations. Tax payers will be thankful. All that training they put the firefighters through and all that equipment is quite costly.

Thanks for doing your part for the community.

2015 years 8 months ago

Big to do over nothing……..Should have thrown it in a dumpster and forgotten it.

2015 years 8 months ago

Way to go “guest”: Just throw in dumpster. HA HA. The problem was, no one knew what it was. Perhaps cyanide? Or a bomb. Or a poison gas? Of course AFTER it was analyzed it was found to be harmless. Too bad they weren’t psycic like you and knew that when they opened the truck. BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY. (Or are you just upset because you couldn’t use your coupon!!!)

2015 years 8 months ago

If you can’t say something worth reading, shut up. You may think it was over reacting but you would be the first person to complain if it had been something dangerous and you had been exposed to it.

They did the job they were hired to do and good for them. The next time, it may not be something so harmless. You may be sitting in an emergency room, waiting to see if you have been exposed to something bad, wondering which lawyer you are going to call to start the lawsuit against the city for not protecting you.

2015 years 8 months ago

You are so right. We have become so afraid of almost everything that I agree, the terrorists have indeed won, and without doing anything. Overreaction is everywhere and we are watched everywhere we go. Someone once said “those who trade liberty for security deserve neither”. It has about come to that point. As for the 20 oz. bottle…in the dumpster.

2015 years 8 months ago

OH..there is a 20oz bottle in our lawn that wasn’t there last night…has a liquid in it and I have NO IDEA what it is…guess I should call 911 for a HAZMAT response…


O Face
2015 years 8 months ago

I mean, really? I could keep going but I don’t have the time to link you to the Chris manuals from the coast guard.

I don’t need to be hit by the bullet to know when I am being shot at ass wads.

Play how you train. Train like a scrub, play like a scrub. The only reason that WFD even has a regional haz mat response team is because they were the only paid department with in a 9 county response area for a very long time.

You have to have some self respect in order to hold yourself accountable. You have to be a man about things to understand that. What frightens me, is the fact, that neither the city fire chief nor the county fire chief have ever served anywhere as a paid firefighter, ever. So, what is their qualification to be a so called leader in a job they know nothing about? They don’t have any experience. College education? Please. You only pay for the name on the degree.

Like all the other Wilmingtonians, I will arm chair quarterback this thing till I turn blue in the face. Seems like, yellow journalism and accusations are enough to call into question someone’s ability to lead. Why don’t you take some time and review the Yamashita standard or Medina standard. Based upon those standards, we as tax paying citizens, should be able to hold the officer of the first due company, the battalion chief, the fire chief, the deputy city and county managers and the city and county managers liable for burning down the next house or building with in their respective locals, right?

Over 130 years experience and they still don’t know squat as a fire department. They even go so far as to honor members of their own department that died, while off duty, with full departmental dress wakes and ceremonies. As about as disrespectful to those, that actually paid the price on the job, as me calling all the dumbasses on the “haz mat” out, right?

Piss off rookies and get to stepping.

O Face
2015 years 8 months ago

Look at the picture…They all must be in the cold zone or using that new spray on neoprene kevlar nomex latex carbon fiber hazmat moon suits with the invisible air tanks.

Practice how you play right? Guess WFD and NHCFR plays sloppy.

Piss Poor Planning Promotes Piss Poor Performance.

Must be new tactics they are teaching out of Stillwell, OK. Or University Park, MD. Might even be tactics from University of Cincinnati.

Nope. Those are tactics learned from Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy.

Guess all the guys who were actually on the job didn’t know squat and all the yard breathers, who call themselves leaders, have all the answers.

FTM-PTB No Quarter!!!

2015 years 8 months ago

Glad to hear the you’re such an expert. Why don’t you come on out, dress up in a level A with SCBA and go down range? Didn’t think so! P.O.S.

2015 years 8 months ago

If you don’t know what you are talking about, you need to keep your un-educated comments to yourself. You really must be an expert if you can tell from the picture posted where these people are standing in relations to the product in question. My recommendation would be for you to pick up a Haz-mat application, so you can head up the program, it would be terrible to waste all the expert training you must have to just sit back and arm chair quarterbacking these types of situations.

Guest Reply
2015 years 8 months ago

Homeland should outlaw finishing products used on wicker furniture! Then this will never happen again!
Some body…or someone is watching too many TV Cop shows…and the real terrorist in the world sit back and watch us as the they laugh at us… jumping at our own shadows!
Reminds me of when I left a grocery bag on top of my car one time, after unloading the other bags, while parked in my driveway. When I did remember I had left it outside on my car…when I got to my car to get it…there were 4 cop cars, a fire truck…and the military had 16 cannons aimed at it from across the street. They were kinda right though…there were 5 cans of baked beans for me in there…and according to my wife…they were potential explosives! I cooked the beans…everyone that showed up had a plate…and off they went…fanning!

2015 years 8 months ago

time I was in…if you didn’t know or weren’t CERTAIN of what you were dealing dressed out to the HILT!