December 10, 2013
Toxic cloud forces mass evacuations in the City
A cloud of toxic gas rose early today above Buenos Aires City near the central port area. Government officials at the scene confirmed that a shipping container's contents had set on fire, causing a cloud of gases to spread around the city.
The container was said to have been holding highly chemical pesticides and insecticides.
The incident provoked a temporary panic on initial discovery of the fire as the container was first reported to have contained mercury.
The national secretary for security Sergio Berni cleared up mixed reportage, confirming that the fire had been put out and making it clear that the chemical substances inside the container were of “little danger.”
Local news agencies reported that the staunch smell of rotten waste was reported in Congreso, Recoleta, Retiro, and Microcentro neighbourhoods from early this morning.
Federal Police and Naval Command officers earlier advised that people keep their windows closed as a precaution.
The Met Service (SMN) informed that the strong smell was being spreads across to the south of the city due to “strong south-easterly winds.”
“The situation is completely under control. What needs to be highlighted is the brave decision of the Federal Police, who risked their lives and opened the container, not knowing what was inside,” Sergio Berni said.
“There was a pesticide inside the container whose main ingrediente was solid carbonate. Now the forensics are going to analyse all of the evidence to work out what started the whole thing.”