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Sodium hydrosulfite leak in Holiday prompted evacuations, hazmat situation

There were no injures reported as a result of the leak, according to Pasco County Fire Rescue.
This screenshot taken from video provided by Pasco County Fire Rescue shows the scene of a hazmat leak Thursday night.
This screenshot taken from video provided by Pasco County Fire Rescue shows the scene of a hazmat leak Thursday night. [ From Pasco County Fire Rescue video ]
Published Aug. 19
Updated Aug. 20

HOLIDAY — A leaking drum of sodium hydrosulfite on the 4000 block of Louis Avenue led to evacuations Thursday evening, according to Pasco County Fire Rescue.

Pasco Fire first arrived on the scene around 4:45 p.m. and discovered a 55-gallon barrel of sodium hydrosulfite on fire, which caused a toxic cloud of smoke to blow across the street, the agency said in a news release Friday. Firefighters say they then extinguished the fire while also evacuating nearby homes and businesses.

Additional investigation by firefighters using drones showed that “a violent chemical reaction was taking place inside the barrel,” according to the release.

Tampa Fire Rescue’s hazmat team assisted at the scene of the leak, Pasco Fire said. Hazmat and cleanup crews worked together until 2 a.m. Friday, when the barrel was removed from the business.

Sodium hydrosulfite is hazardous to handle and very volatile when mixed with water, officials said.

In the textile industry, the chemical is a universal reducing agent that is used for indigo dyeing. It also is used as a non-aggressive alternative to bleach for removing color from dyed fabrics and for whitening antique textiles.

Pasco Fire did not say what business was using the chemical prior to the leak.

There were no injuries reported by firefighters.

“Hazmat crews took great care to keep the chemical stable until cleanup crews could arrive,” Pasco Fire Rescue spokesperson Corey Dierdorff said in a statement. “We are thankful that everyone in the surrounding residents and businesses evacuated quickly and that no one was hurt.”