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Fire communications shift manager Scott Osmond said 15 fire crews were still at the scene cleaning up hydrochloric acid at the Waterview tunnel construction site, however residents are returning to their homes.
Fire appliances from other parts of Auckland have been moved to cover the areas where fire crews were tied up with the clean up.
A drum of hydrochloric acid was punctured around 5:30am today, leaking 800 litres of the chemical.
Residents in Methuen Road, Batkin Road, Bollard Ave and New Windsor Road were told to stay indoors, close all windows and turn off air-conditioning units. Cordons were set up in the area to prevent people from entering the potentially harmful cloud of gas.
Fire Service Officer in Charge, Kerry Gregory, said the neutralisation process will produce vapour which will be predominantly steam, leaving a product of salty water.
"The cloud should be visual for some time. Fire [Service] have crews inside the building where the spill occurred. The cloud should be low-risk and will be tested while chemicals are being neutralised."
A chemist living inside the cordon couldn't return to his home at 9am today after dropping a friend at the bus station.
Kevin Sparrow lives on Methuen Road and urged residents to stay in their homes.
"I can feel it in my eyes a little. A strong acid like that can damage your lungs, your eyes and your mucous membranes."
Other residents were concerned because they had not been notified by emergency services of the potential danger.
Pooja Sharma got a surprise when she left for work at 8:30am and found a police car blocking Methuen Road.
"Nobody told me this was happening. We just woke up and I'm going to work," she said.
Another Methuen Rd resident, who did not want to be named, said when he heard about the spill he left work early to go home to check on his wife and child.
But he found the area had been cordoned off.
"I've been waiting for about 45 minutes. I'm not going back to work until I know they are alright," he said.
- By Sophie Ryan of APNZ