GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WUSA) -- Police were called to the Devon Self Storage facility at 18830 Woodfield Rd. in Gaithersburg around 6:30 p.m. Monday, according to Montgomery County Police Assistant Chief Scott Graham.
According to police, a person driving by the facility saw several men in protective clothing taking unmarked barrels out of an unmarked box truck into one of the storage units. The person thought the activity looked suspicious and called the police.
Police took a look at the scene and then called the fire department. After full police and fire response, authorities discovered the men are subcontractors for a government contractor.
The government contractor makes a product that produces two by-products: an oil and sodium hydroxide. The oil and sodium hydroxide were being taken into the storage unit in separate barrels. In total, there were just over two dozen barrels.
Sodium hydroxide, more commonly known as caustic soda or lye, is sometimes used by hotels and restaurants as a cleaning solution\.
Authorities say the oil and the sodium hydroxide are not a hazard to anyone as currently stored, but the Maryland Department of the Environment is investigating the lack of proper labels and placards on the barrels and on the box truck used to transport the materials. Any charges stemming from that labeling will be handled by the Department of the Environment and Montgomery County Police.
Stay with 9NEWS NOW as more details are released in this developing story.