Fall River building evacuated after man melts mercury dental fillings

FALL RIVER, MASS. (WHDH) - A residential building in Fall River was evacuated after a man melted dental fillings containing mercury on Saturday.

Hazardous materials crews were called to the scene and two people were sent to the hospital.

Authorities say a 51-year-old man was melting old dental fillings last month, thinking they were made of silver.

The fillings were actually made with mercury and authorities say they recorded extremely high levels of the chemical in the building.

Fall River Fire District Chief Michael Clark said a normal reading for a thermometer or a blood pressure cuff would be in the single digits.

“This reading was about 106,” Clark said. “It was unusual. This is the first incident of this type that I’ve had.”

Ami Campinah, who lives in the building with her three children, said the man who melted the fillings, along with his 17-year-old daughter, tested positive for mercury and remain in the hospital.

A dog and two cats living in the apartment died, according to authorities.

“It’s mercury, that’s really scary,” Loriann Miranda, a concerned neighbor, said. “Hopefully it stays confined.”

Officials say a specialized clean-up crew will have to clean the entire building before anyone can return to living there.

“It’s been hard. We didn’t have anywhere for our animals to go, so, thankfully, animal control came and got them and they’re staying at a local place,” Campinah said. “Thankfully, our landlord put us in a hotel for the weekend and we will know more Monday.”

Fire officials say it will be a very labor intensive process for those specialty clean-up crews. Residents have not been given a timeline as to when they can move back in.

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