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Coolant leak at Waterways leads to emergency response

The Vicksburg Fire Department was dispatched to the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Monday afternoon for what proved to be a coolant leak at one of the facility’s buildings.

At around 1:30 p.m., units arrived at ERDC’s Aquatic and Wetlands Ecosystem Research and Development Center in response to what was initially believed to be a fire.

What was thought to be smoke proved to be a “sudden air conditioner coolant leak in the building,” a release from ERDC said.

ERDC officials said all occupants of the building were safely evacuated. The building was declared “safe and secure” at around 2 p.m.

Until the mid-1990s, ERDC was home to its own fire department on the Waterways Experiment Station. After that, fire protection was transferred over to the City of Vicksburg.

“A decision was made that we could better serve ERDC’s fire protection needs,” Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said in a story published by The Post in February. “In the event of a fire on property at ERDC, we have a fleet that is very well-equipped to handle everything from a high-rise fire to a vehicle fire.”

But the partnership between ERDC and the VFD does not only come into play at the time of an emergency. From regular fire inspections and hydrant tests to fire extinguisher checks and drills with employees, the VFD supports nearly all aspects of ERDC’s emergency response planning throughout the year.