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Chlorine Catches Fire Outside Franklin Lakes Home

Pellets ignited in a Sioux Lane resident's trash can Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters extinguished a fire in a Sioux Lane resident's trash can which released small billows of potentially harmful chlorine smoke Sunday.

The fire was started accidentally when the resident moved some chlorine tablets from one pail into another, according to Franklin Lakes Fire Chief Denny Knubel. The tablets, which are used to kill bacteria in swimming pools, apparently reacted with something in the container, he said.

"It could have been just about anything. It could have been Coca-Cola," Knubel said.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, chlorine can ignite or explode when it comes into contact with many materials, including combustable substances (like gas or alcohol,) reducing agents (sodium, aluminum, etc.) and "finely divided" metals.

It took Franklin Lakes firefighters and a hazmat team from the Mahwah Fire Department about 30 minutes to fully extinguish the fire, according to Knubel. The can was in the home's driveway when it ignited.

EMTs from the Franklin Lakes Ambulance Corps checked out the resident and firefighters also got some dogs out of the home.

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