Car Crash into Braintree Business Prompts Hazardous Cleanup

A vehicle crashed into Champion Cleaners in the Braintree Highlands Tuesday evening, leading to a response from Braintree police and fire, plus state hazmat crews.

UPDATE 2:45 p.m. Wednesday: Deputy Police Chief Russell Jenkins reported this afternoon that the driver of the car in last night’s accident may have had a seizure moments before the crash.

The driver, who was alone in the car at the time, was not named by police because he has not been charged with a crime, Jenkins said in a statement.

“He did not appear to be injured and made statements to rescue personnel regarding his medical history,” Jenkins said. “He was transported to South Shore Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No one else was in the vehicle and no one in any of the businesses was injured. No one was in the cleaners at the time of the crash.”

Route 37 was re-opened at 2 a.m. after a Tier 2 Hazmat team removed a container from the dry cleaner’s labeled “hazardous waste.”

Just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, Braintree police and fire departments responded to a report of a vehicle that had struck a building at 1721 Washington St. (Rt. 37) in the Highlands section of town.

Upon arrival, officers found a new model Dodge Caliber resting on it’s side with the driver pinned behind the wheel. It took firefighters almost a half an hour to cut a hole in the roof using the Jaws of Life in order to free the trapped driver. The unidentified driver was taken by ambulance to an area hospital for treatment of unknown injuries.

The vehicle had left the roadway and crashed through the front of Champion Cleaners, shattering all of the windows and door frames in the front of the store. The impact of the crashed caused a small gas leak at the scene, and National Grid was called in to shut down the gas service.

The Braintree Electric Light Department also arrived to cut power to the building, which contains four businesses including the dry cleaners. Due to the nature of the chemicals kept in the dry cleaners, a hazmat order was requested by command staff. The Massachusetts Department of Fire Safety arrived and immediately ordered a Tier 2 Hazmat response to treat the spill of unknown chemicals.

Members of the DFS District 2 Hazmat Response Team arrived on scene from across the eastern part of the state. Decontamination showers were set up on Rt. 37, and a two-man team entered the building dressed in full hazmat suits. They exited with multiple samples of chemicals that were spilled when the crash occurred. Traffic was diverted around the scene starting around 8 p.m.

Emergency personnel started clearing the scene just before midnight. The crash is still under investigation by the Braintree Police Traffic division.