A weekend DIY project led to burning throats and a costly
decontamination bill for a Porirua family who were exposed to
"heinous" paint fumes.
Emergency services were called to a house on Discovery Drive
in Whitby after a strong chemical smell was reported about
The smell was linked to a tin of paint which the occupants
had used in one of the rooms on Saturday.
Wellington Free Ambulance operations team manager Mark
Shakespeare said a woman and man, aged 46 and 54, were
suffering from headaches, dizziness and a burning sensation
in their airways.
They were taken to Wellington Hospital with minor injuries.
A 5-year-old boy who lives at the house was at school at the
time and suffered no symptoms.
Two other family members, who were in Upper Hutt and
Palmerston North, made their own ways to hospital, but
neither were suffering symptoms.
Porirua senior fire station officer Owen Woodman said the
house's occupants had bought four litres of paint which they
used in one room five days ago.
The paint gave off "heinous fumes" when it was opened.
"He did notice it was quite pungent when he opened it, but he
just thought, 'Oh well, that's the paint.' He applied it but
they were uneasy with how it smelt afterwards and they moved
out of the house on Sunday because of the pungent odour."
Fourteen firefighters from four trucks were called to the
house, which remained cordoned off last night.
Public health officials and Porirua City Council environment
and dangerous goods officials were also involved.
The house could not be lived in again until it had been
decontaminated, Mr Woodman said.
"That, unfortunately, is borne by the owner ... it will have
to be decontaminated by a specialist company."
Mr Woodman said the tin of paint, which was not a common
brand, had been removed from the house and was being
examined. He would not disclose the brand.
The event was relatively low-key, despite the turnout from
emergency services. "But it could have had serious
consequences," he said.