12/19/2014 10:32 EST | Updated 02/18/2015 05:59 EST

Chemical dump forces Songhees First Nation evacuations

Residents of 12 Victoria-area homes spent last night at an emergency reception centre after a chemical spill forced them to leave.

View Royal Fire chief Paul Hurst says more than two dozen firefighters and hazardous-material technicians were called out to the home on the 1500 block of Middle Road on Songhees First Nation land near View Royal yesterday.

Hurst says neighbours reported seeing a man emptying what is believed to be four barrels of sodium hydroxide onto a lawn around 6 p.m. PT, but police say testing is still being done to confirm the substance.

Sodium hydroxide is widely used in the oil and pulp industries and is present in many cleaning products, but it's also used in making illegal drugs such as methamphetamine.

Emergency crews were able to contain the spill and they believe that the chemical didn't get into any water streams.

"Ministry of Environment has called out a contractor — a local contractor, B.C. Hazmat. That scene will now be turned over to them for the remediation," said Hurst.