Two Boyle County deputy sheriffs had to go to the emergency room Wednesday night after they were overcome by fumes while investigating a report of a strong chemical smell.
Deputies Tyler Morris and Chris Stratton arrived at the 4000 block of Chenault Bridge Road shortly after 10:30 p.m. after the Danville 911 center received a call about a strong chemical smell in the area.
Sheriff Marty Elliott said the deputies were overcome by the fumes and had to leave the scene. Kentucky State Police and Boyle County Fire Department were then quickly dispatched.
“We didn’t really think it was a meth lab — would have had to be the size of half a Walmart or something to make that much odor — but we had to have it checked out,” Elliott said. “It was treated as a Hazmat situation.”
It was determined a painting van containing barrels of fence paint along with multiple opened 55-gallon barrels had been left there for the night by crews working in the area.
The fire department and KSP soon arrived along with Deputy Sheriffs Dustin Clem and Jim Gies who Elliott said are certified as firefighters. Wearing proper safety equipment, they were able to enter the area.
“A meter was then used, and it was determined to be paint, fence paint,” Elliott said.
“The MSDS — or material safety data sheet — that is attached to things like paint barrels confirmed the fumes were hazardous if inhaled, so, per my instructions, my deputies (Morris and Stratton) were transported to the hospital for breathing treatments and to be detoxed. We also evacuated any in the area who had not already done so.”
KSP spokesman Trooper Paul Blanton said Troopers Donnie Moses and David Fugate responded just after 11 p.m. and reported at least three barrels on the scene.
“The crew had knocked off for the day and left the paint. The fire department had to clear the scene, but there was nothing criminal,” Blanton said.
It may have been as many as 10-12 barrels with seven open, according to the sheriff.
“It was a strong, acetone-type smell,” he said.
It was determined no further action was required. Residents were allowed to return home when the fumes naturally dissipated.