SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – A South Hadley man was arrested for firearms charges after officials were called to the Riverboat Village Apartments for an unknown chemical substance.

South Hadley Police Chief Jennifer Gundersen told 22News police and firefighters were called to the apartment complex around 12:55 p.m. Sunday for an unknown chemical substance within an apartment. 22News spoke with those in the apartments, who say this was a scary experience for them.

“I was driving home, and I saw, 5 to 10 police cars, a fire truck, an environmental hazard truck,
they marked off the parking lot so no one could go in or out, and they had a tent posted up outside with a bunch of emergency services,” said a Riverboat Village Apartments resident.

The investigation led to the arrest of 33-year-old Paul Traficante of South Hadley. He was charged with possession of a large-capacity feeding device and improper storage of a firearm.

Officials found and seized numerous noxious chemicals which were destroyed at an offsite location, but did not specify what those chemicals were. South Hadley police and fire received assistance from the following units:

  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Fire Marshal
  • Department of Fire Services Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Division
  • Department of Fire Services Joint Hazardous Incident Response Team (JHIRT)
  • The Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit (SPDU) assigned to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office
  • Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services
  • Massachusetts State Police Fire and Explosion Investigations Section
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MASSDEP)

22News spoke with two people who live at the residence, where the incident occurred, they said they were evacuated and that they don’t know the suspect.

Police are still investigating, and residents are back in their homes but still questioning the nature of why dangerous chemicals were in the apartment complex in the first place.

“It’s definitely concerning not knowing if the chemicals were just building based, or if they affected the whole campus, I live in the building of that building that was exposed, and safety-wise,” said the Riverboat Village Apartments resident. “How I keep myself safe, my loved ones safe, my kids, and animals, it’s definitely a concern.”

22News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.