Two weeks ago Jack and I were packing up the contents of our buffet, in an effort to clear some space in our dining room, thinking that at some point in the near future we need to put our little apartment on the market and move (we are packed in here, all five of us). We found a small wooden teardrop'd shape thing, old and curious. And we found that it opened, and then mercury poured out, all over the table in the family room, and the rug, and the husband. I called poison control, yes, mercury. Eeek! Do not use a vacuum, must call the fire department, immediately. Four big red trucks pulled up in front of our building and in came about six firefighters in full firefighter gear. Mary and Kate, who had been sequestered in their bedroom with Eleanor Roosevelt, were fascinated. Lots of mulling around a then a call to the chief, seems our local fire guys had never seen mercury before. Five firefighters marched downstairs and one was left, Mike, to guard the room. The chief arrived, he surveyed the "spill" and called for a HAZMAT team.
Mary and Kate, still locked up in their room, begged for breakfast. I offered bananas. The HAZMAT team arrived, another six firefighters in full gear waving scanning "things" all over our apartment. They scanned the spill, they scanned our shoes, they scanned Mike's firefighter boots, they scanned Eleanor Roosevelt. Our shoes were ordered into a bag for cleaning, Eleanor was ordered into the bath, and poor Mike, his boots were bagged, leaving him with firefighter shorts and dark socks. Luckily the mercury level in our apartment was low but being that it was still mercury, we must call on another to opine on our situation. Chief, and HAZMAT leader, thought our table and rug best be tossed out into the alley, never to be seen again. Splendid! The table, a beautiful antique farm table, and the rug, a very valuable antique Persian, would be so well suited to the world in our alley. Every rodent in the back would love making a home in that beautiful rug. And so the EPA was called. This being a Sunday morning, it took the EPA guy about and hour to get into the city from who knows where. I let Mary and Kate out of their room, we moved onto the front porch, waiting and watching. He arrived, and offered this opinion of our little hazardous spill, "vacuum, there's not enough here to cause any damage. Thanks, and I'll take the original vessel. Have a good day".
The rug and the table were very happy.