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Fire, chemical spill calls for hazmat crew

NORCROSS - A sprinkler system set off by an evening fire at a Norcross business Thursday caused water to mix with acid-based chemicals, causing firefighters to call in the hazardous materials crew.

Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge said water flowing from the sprinkler fell into several vats of chemicals housed inside EMS Technologies located at 660 Engineering Drive, causing the chemical mixture to spill.

Rutledge said a built-in drain system in the floor drained the chemical spill into a retention area outside the building, but 11 firefighters were exposed to the chemicals and were decontaminated - done by removing the possibly exposed gear and washing.

Rutledge described the chemicals as acid-based liquids used as a corrosion protector for aluminum.

Firefighters believe the blaze originated at 11:54 p.m. in the exhaust system inside the building.

Although firefighters are unsure what started the fire, they said the incident does not seem suspicious.

Rutledge said damage was contained to the exhaust equipment with no extension or damage to the building. No one was injured.