Nine treated after chemical spill at medical centre in North Shore

By Ben Hill, Morgan Tait, Lynley Bilby

Emergency services were alerted to the spill shortly after 1pm, it is understood. Photo / Daniel Hines
Emergency services were alerted to the spill shortly after 1pm, it is understood. Photo / Daniel Hines

Nine patients, including a pregnant woman, have been treated after a chemical spill at an Auckland medical centre today.

The Dodson Medical Centre on Dodson Ave, Milford was evacuated shortly after 1pm when 300ml of the harmful chemical Phenol was spilled.

Nine people were exposed to the substance -- two coming into direct contact with it.

Four people were assessed as having moderate injuries and five with minor injuries, said St John spokesman Robbie Walker.

A Waitemata District Health Board spokeswoman said four people were still being treated at North Shore Hospital.

She said all of the patients were in a stable condition. The spokeswoman could not provide any details about any of the individuals.

It was understood injuries included chemical burns and breathing difficulties.

Fire Service spokesman Jaron Phillips said all the patients were decontaminated at the scene.

Senior sergeant Gavin Travers said the incident unfolded after 300ml of phenol was spilled.

Phenol is a chemical commonly used as an antiseptic but can be harmful if there is excessive exposure, according to information at

It can result in abdominal pains, dizziness, heart problems, respiratory failure, circulatory failure, coma and death

Mr Travers said he didn't know how the spill occurred.

The Fire Service's Hazardous Material unit was at the scene and the spill was contained at about 1.40pm.

Ruba Naidoo, from the Milford Family Dental clinic next to the doctor's surgery said there were a lot of people gathering at the cordons near the scene.

"I looked out of the window and it's all cordoned off," she said. "There's fire engines everywhere and a lot of people are just standing and watching.

"The ambulances are still there."

She said the firefighter were walking towards the building and keeping people away and controlling the flow of people."

A woman who works at a nearby pharmacy, on the corner of Dodson Ave and Kitchener Rd, said she saw and heard a lot of fire engines and ambulances rushing to the scene.

She said it looked serious "but very organised".

"It looks quite busy down there," she said.

A neighbouring business owner said incident was contained to the medical centre with tape now stopping people from entering the building.

The man, who did not want to be named, said the public was able to move freely and there was no word from emergency services that those outside the practice were in any danger.

The Dodson Medical Centre, located a street back from the main Milford shopping strip, is in a converted century-old villa.

The general practice caters for all age groups in the community with specialist treatments available for asthma, cardiovascular, menopause and diabetes.

WorkSafe New Zealand has been notified of the incident and is making initial inquiries, said a spokesman.

- NZ Herald

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