The block of Figueroa Street just west of State Street was closed to vehicular traffic for most of Monday morning after janitors stripping the floors of the Longs Drugs at 1109 State Street allegedly poured chemical cleaners into the store’s back parking lot. The area connects to Figueroa Street through an alleyway, and the City Fire Department summoned Hazmat crews to soak up the cleaning solution with an absorbent substance, said Deputy Santa Barbara Fire Chief Mitch Vaughn, in order to prevent it from flowing into storm drains and contaminating water. Upon being cleaned, the block was re-opened. People passing through on foot were in no danger, and Vaughn said traffic was stopped only to prevent the cleaning chemicals from being tracked onto other roads. Ultimately, Vaughn deemed the clean-up successful and noted that Longs agreed to fund a private cleaning crew to prevent any possible contamination.
By Paul Wellman