Toronto Police Are Blocking Off Streets Due To Reports Of White Smoke In The Air
People were being asked to avoid the area on Tuesday afternoon.
Don't mistake the white smoke for summer smog. Toronto Police issued a hazard warning for residents in the downtown area of College Street and Elizabeth Street on June 2 due to some questionable white smoke crowding the scene. Police are asking people to avoid the area in the meantime.
According to a tweet sent out by Toronto Police, at around 2:25 p.m., officers were called to College and Elizabeth, right in the area of Toronto General Hospital.
The call came in after residents reported seeing white smoke in the area. First responders including Toronto Fire were on the scene on Tuesday afternoon.
Anyone who is in the area is being asked to stay inside due to the danger that the unknown hazard could potentially cause.
City News reports that the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive team (CBRNE) is at the scene.
They apparently found that white powder from a tank belonging to an industrial gas company was being released into the air and coating the ground.
Toronto Fire told CP24 that they believe the substance is the non-toxic perlite, which is used to insulate oxygen tanks like the one involved in this incident.
“There’s an insolation material called perlite that released," said District Fire Chief Bill Bygrave. "It’s not toxic but it is an irritant. So it released up into the air, it’s like a powder. And we had to wet it down.”
Perlite poses no significant risk to the public, said officials, but it can irritate people’s lungs and cause respiratory issues if it gets crushed.
That is not what anybody wants right now.
According to CP24, the City of Toronto will be responsible for cleanup once the investigation is over.
Roads in the area are closed and people have been asked to stay inside.
Newstalk 1010 had previously reported that the apparent smoke could be due to some kind of chemical hazard. That was later confirmed by officials.
According to a subsequent tweet by Toronto police, certain roads are closed for the time being.
College and University Avenue, College and Bay Street, Gerrard Street and Bay to Toronto General Hospital, Bay and College, Elizabeth and Gerrard, and westbound College and Yonge Street were all closed on Tuesday afternoon.
As of 7 p.m., there had been no further update from police.