Workers at several businesses which were evacuated have since returned to the area as police, fire services and the Defence Force carried out a controlled explosion in south Dunedin this morning to dispose of a potentially dangerous chemical, Fire and Emergency New Zealand has confirmed.
Who Ate All the Pies? operations manager Brian Taylor told 1 NEWS he was unaware of the incident until he arrived for work early this morning.
"I just arrived this morning, quarter to 6 this morning, and seen it was all cordoned off, so I hadn't spoken to anybody and I just came out there and they say they want us out of the building."
"It was pretty scary, eh? Might just be a wee bit overkill ... but a wee bit scary."
McKinlay's Footwear's Graeme McKinlay told 1 NEWS the explosion was "a bit of a non-event."
"You wonder why they didn't do it last night," he added.
Five fire trucks with 14 firefighters were called to Blis Technologies on the corner of Sullivan Ave and Glasgow Street just before 3.30pm yesterday after a chemical that had been in storage for some time had been discovered by a lab technician.
Cordons were in place at King Edward Street, Sullivan Avenue, Glasgow Street, Carey Avenue and Fox Street.
Fire services confirmed that 50ml of Hydrazine Monohydrate was found to have crystallised around the lip of its container.
The chemical was a small amount, but if left or moved incorrectly, the chemical could deteriorate and become highly flammable, fire services said.
The chemical was disposed of at 9.45am, and police have since been stood down.
Crews in decontamination suits entered the area to clean up any residual crystals from the blast, a firefighter at the scene told 1 NEWS. Fire crews have since left the scene.
The Defence Force this morning met with police and fire services staff at the property, where they constructed a plan for the safe disposal for the chemical on-site.
A two-man crew remained at the scene overnight.