Winnipeg's HSC back to normal after chemical spill

The Health Sciences Centre is fully open again after a chemical spill Thursday afternoon forced 500 people out of the hospital.
Emergency vehicles on the scene after Thursday's chemical spill at the Health Sciences Centre. (CBC)

The Health Sciences Centre is fully open again after a chemical spill Thursday afternoon forced 500 people out of the hospital.

The spill happened just before 2 p.m. in the fourth floor laboratory of the hospital's Thorlakson Building at 820 Sherbrook St.

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority officials said 50 gallons of Formalin, a chemical similar to formaldehyde was spilled. The chemical is highly flammable and corrosive but typically not deadly unless there is a prolonged exposure in a large quantity.

One person was exposed to the chemical, but they were decontaminated and will be fine, officials said.

The 500 people evacuated were mostly staff but included 14 patients — six of which were children.

All floors of the Thorlakson Building are now declared safe and hospital business is returning to normal, stated a news release from the WRHA on Friday.

"Clean-up and containment efforts were completed early this morning," the release stated, adding there was a minimal impact to services with slightly longer waits in emergency due to the disruption of lab services.

Ambulances were briefly redirected to other facilities during the evacuation process but resumed traffic to HSC last evening.

In total, five elective adult surgeries and six adult angiography procedures were cancelled and rescheduled for a later date, the WRHA said.