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Firefighters work to contain hazardous materials after a fire at Circuits West in Longmont, Colo., on Sunday, July 1, 2007. Crews from Longmont Fire responded to an automatic alarm that sounded around 9:30 a.m. Sunday to find smoke coming from the building. Although the structure had automatic sprinklers, the fire was not contained and grew rapidly, causing the crews to call for a second alarm. Fire and Haz-Mat teams from Boulder and Mountain View responded to assist Longmont at 1820 Industrial Circle. Multiple firefighters experienced symptoms from exposure to Nitric Acid, and were treated at the scene. It is not believed that any personnel were transported for further treatment. Old Chicago Pizza and King Auto Group, a car dealership, and Hawthorn Suites, a nearby hotel, were all evacuated due to possible health and inhalation hazards from the toxic smoke. It is unknown how long the perimeter will be in place or how long it will be before business owners can reopen. Leal advised anyone exposed to the smoke having respiratory problems to seek medical attention immediately. According to Longmont Public Information Officer Rigo Leal, there is a growing concern that the smoke is toxic due to the chemical compounds within the building that were involved in the fire. The only identified chemical known by officials to be posing a threat at this point is nitric acid. The corporation, which specializes in printed circuit boards, uses nitric acid to etch circuit boards. In an attempt to curb the effects of runoff possibly containing nitric acid and other chemicals, personnel on scene halted fire suppression efforts. According to Leal, firefighters noted some difficulty in getting automatic fire sprinklers shut down, which may have further contributed to runoff of the acid. (JONATHAN D. WOODS/THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS) **

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