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West Hartford homeowner ignores warning, tosses chemicals into garbage truck leading to smoky scene, Hazmat response: police

Ballard Road remains closed while cleanup continues. The homeowner is facing charges including Breach of Peace and Reckless Endangerment.
Credit: FOX61

WEST HARTFORD, Conn — Police said a homeowner trying to get rid of some chemicals ignored restrictions, which led to a smoky scene, a large hazmat response and his arrest on Wednesday. 

Officers responded to the area of 61 Ballard Dr. for a hazardous material call.

According to a release, the driver from Paine’s Recycling company reported an unknown substance in the back of the garbage truck he was operating caused a chemical reaction.

The driver told police a white cloud began to come from the rear of the truck, which was confirmed by first responders on scene.

As a result, additional West Hartford Fire resources were called in along with AMR Ambulance, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, EnConn Environmental Police and a UConn Fire Haz Mat team.  

Police said the homeowner had ordered a bulky trash pick-up. However, some of the items had to be refused by Paine’s as they were unknown chemicals.

According to officials, the homeowner then threw the items into the rear of the open garbage truck anyway, leading to the chemical reaction and the large emergency response.

Ballard Dr.  had to be closed and remains shut down in that area until a hazardous waste clean-up is completed.

Police said the homeowner, 66-year-old John Brennan, will be responsible for the clean-up and was making his own arrangements with a licensed contractor.

Brennan was charged with Breach of Peace 2nd degree, Reckless Endangerment 2nd degree, Littering and Permits/ Discharging with no permit. 

Police said there were no injuries, no waterways exposed and no evacuation of the area.

Brennan was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond.  He is due in court on September 2. 

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