Fresno family exposed to mercury after opening storage container

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Authorities were dealing with a hazmat situation involving mercury exposure in Central Fresno on Saturday. Firefighters were called to an apartment complex on Brooks near McKinley avenues just before 3 p.m.

Crews say a family of four children and two adults opened up a storage container Friday night, which they bought several months ago. It included a clear container with silver liquid inside. The children started playing with that liquid, which turned out to be mercury.

"They opened it up, and as young kids do they started playing with this mercury that balled up and rolled around, and they didn't think much of it. I think someone told them they probably better not play with that anymore and call someone, so they did," said Battalion Chief Ron Stogdell with the Fresno Fire Department.

Mercury can be poisonous if the liquid is ingested, or if it heats up enough to release vapors that are inhaled.

Firefighters decontaminated the six family members at the scene. They were not showing any symptoms but were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

County and state health officials were also responding to assess the risks and have crews clean up the apartment. Firefighters say there is no danger outside of that one unit, but everything the mercury touched must be disposed of safely.
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