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Bomb squad at Zephyrhills clinic after picric acid forces evacuation

ZEPHYRHILLS — Workers and patients were evacuated Monday afternoon from the Florida Medical Clinic at 38117 Market Square after a potentially explosive chemical was spilled in the clinic's lab.

The spill, which happened about 3 p.m., involved an unspecified amount of picric acid, a poisonous, yellow chemical used in staining biological samples as well as making dyes and explosives.

No injuries were reported.

The clinic shut down for the rest of the afternoon as the Zephyrhills Fire Department and Pasco Fire Rescue secured the scene, closed off the parking lot and evacuated the area. The bomb squad from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office came to help dispose of the chemical, which had crystallized. They were still working at the scene into the early evening.

The spill did not affect dismissal of nearby schools.

Dry picric acid is highly explosive, especially when combined with metals such as copper, lead, zinc and iron. It is also a strong, potentially fatal irritant that can cause skin damage. Symptoms of exposure include nausea, vomiting and itching.

Bomb squad at Zephyrhills clinic after picric acid forces evacuation 03/09/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 9, 2009 9:01pm]
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