Saturday, May 26, 2001

Officials descended on Mayor Wright Homes last night
to investigate a report of children found playing
with mercury.

Traces of mercury
found at Mayor
Wright Homes

By Leila Fujimori
and Rod Antone
Star Bulletin

Children and an adult playing with mercury sparked an emergency at Mayor Wright Homes last night.

Parents called the Honolulu Fire Department at 8:42 p.m. and said that several children were found playing with the mercury near Building 29.

Fire officials also said that one of the children brought the mercury into one of the units, 27D. Members of the state Department of Health's Hazardous Emergency Response Evaluation Team were on hand to take air samples from the unit to determine levels of contamination.

A Health Department spokesman said a male adult, who had a half-ounce vial of mercury, had spilled a small amount onto the carpet in unit 27D. Fire Department officials later removed the carpet.

Both of HFD's hazardous waste teams and Kuakini firefighters responded. Fire officials said no Mayor Wright residents had to be evacuated and that the children were playing with "trace amounts" of mercury.

Though he initially did not know the amount of mercury involved, Fire Capt. Richard Soo said: "It's not as much as at Puuwai Momi."

Puuwai Momi is the Halawa housing complex where 71 of the 260 units there were found to contain the potentially toxic metal. Mercury was first found at that complex on March 12 after being carried there by children from an abandoned pump house near Pearl Harbor.

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