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El Toro : Girl’s Rashes Caused by Discarded Paint Thinner

The county Fire Department on Wednesday identified as paint thinner the substance that left a 3-year-old El Toro girl with a burning rash Tuesday after she rode her tricycle through it.

Fifteen firefighters--most of them hazardous materials experts--spent four hours at the child’s home on Tree Street trying to determine what had leaked or spilled from an unmarked five-gallon container left out for trash collection.

“It seemed like a pretty big deal,” said Fire Department spokesman Craig Kinoshita, “but better to be safe than sorry.”

Marci Panneck suffered burning rashes on her arms when she rode through the leaking liquid about 5:30 p.m., and the solvent splashed onto her body, Kinoshita said. The girl was treated and released from Mission Community Hospital in Mission Viejo, as was her father, John Panneck, who suffered similar symptoms after trying to wipe the chemical off his daughter.

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A neighbor who had just purchased a home nearby found the container in his garage, Kinoshita said. He said the man put it out for trash collection, but garbage collectors refused it because “they don’t pick up toxic substances.”


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