Barrels of radioactive chemical prompt hazmat response in Bellflower

Hazmat crews headed to Bellflower and briefly considered evacuating a mobile home park around noon on Tuesday when someone discovered barrels of liquid that were putting off higher-than-normal levels of radiation.

The barrels contained the radioactive chemical Thorium and were being stored in a garage or shed at 9600 E. Alondra Blvd., according to authorities. At some point, the barrels had been exposed to sunlight while they were being moved, and on Thursday, one of them ruptured, Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Gustavo Medina said.

After finding the barrels, authorities were going to evacuate the nearby mobile home park but decided there was no risk to the public after assessing the situation, according to Medina.

Around 2:30 p.m., Fire Department crews handed the scene over to the Environmental Protection Agency, which will handle any further cleanup or investigation, Medina said.

This story has been updated with more details about the incident.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children, Paul and Simon.