Leaking package at Post Office prompts hazmat response

Taft, CA -One person was treated for minor skin irritation after a package containing caustic soda broke open at the United States Post Office in Maricopa Wednesday morning.
The substance, also known as lye or sodium hydroxide, apparently spilled onto the arm of a postal employee, causing what the Kern County Fire Department described as a minor skin irritation.
The woman was treated by washing the affected area with large amounts of water and didn’t require further treatment, firefighters said at the scene.
Two other people, a carrier in Maricopa and an employee at the Taft Post Office who may have been exposed to the substance, were also checked but were found to be unaffected, firefighters said.
The KCFD got the call at 9:30 a.m. from the Maricopa Post office at 345 California Street. When they arrived, they found the caustic soda in power form leaking from two boxes. The boxes were taken outside the building and left there to be disposed of by the Kern Coounty Department of Environmental Health Hazmat Response Team.
A hazardous material team also responded from the KCFD.
Caustic soda has several industrial uses but is sometimes used as a cleaning agent or drain opener because it dissolves grease and hair into water soluble byproducts.


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