6 people, 3 dogs receive chemical burns from paint remover in Chapel Hill

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Chapel Hill police said paint remover used at an apartment complex on Pinegate Circle burned six people and three dogs.

This dog ingested some of the chemical paint remover.
Click for more photos from the incident

Police said a contractor used the paint remover chemical on the floor and stairwell of 11 apartment buildings without notifying residents.

“Well I tried to get up the stairs and I couldn’t get up the and I had to grab the walls and I was still slipping and sliding,” said complex resident Zee Hassan.

Hassan also said his 3-year-old dog Hazel ingested the chemicals and now has ulcers all over her tongue.

He said he raced her to the vet.

“They don’t know it might be in her lungs, in her pipes, in her tubes and everything and lunges so they said it might get worse in the next 24 to 48 hours. But we just have to keep an eye on her,” Hassan added.

The Chapel Hill Fire Department said the paint remover was used Tuesday along with a sign that says the apartment complex isn’t responsible.

“The product is a product called Stripper Clean. It carries a PH level of 13.5 and 7 is about a neutral PH level, so it’s pretty caustic. It’s a sodium and potassium hydroxide mix and that’s why the chemical burn issue is what we’re finding to be so prevalent,” Lisa Edwards of the Chapel Hill Fire Department said.

People who live in the complex meanwhile are furious.

“We’re still inhaling the toxins that are out there. We don’t know how hazardous it is to our lungs,” said resident Jana Joksimovic.

Apartment management has not commented on the incident.

The Fire Department says one person was treated for minor chemical burns after falling on the paint remover and two other dogs were also treated.

A total of 128 units are affected by the use of the chemical.

As of Wednesday night, apartment complex officials  say they’ve made hotel arrangements for the night for everyone who has requested one.

Chapel Hill fire officials said an investigation revealed the management company of the apartment complex will arrange for evacuation and professional clean-up of the affected areas by the chemical.


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