Truck Driver Dead After Hazmat Spill Forces Evacuation

A truck carrying hazardous chemicals has crashed killing the driver and releasing a cloud of toxic orange smoke.

Residents living within half a mile of the crash were evacuated and everyone up to a mile from the spill were told to shelter in place.

The commercial truck, which according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety was carrying nitric acid in liquid form, crashed on Interstate 10 while travelling eastbound through Arizona, US, shortly before 2.45pm on February 15.

Emergency services rushed to the scene and quickly evacuated the surroundings.

Motorists were advised to avoid the area and the stretch of road where the crash happened remains closed.

A hazmat alert was sent to people nearby including students at the University of Arizona.

Footage from the scene shows a cloud of red/orange smoke coming from the overturned trailer.

In ambient temperature nitric acid forms vapor which are toxic to inhale.

According to the UK Gov, inhaling the gas can cause “a burning sensation, dry nose and throat, cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, headache and difficulty breathing”

The driver of the lorry sadly was declared dead, Arizona Department of Public Safety confirmed.

According to a witness the cloud could be seen as far as five miles away.

Personnel at University of Arizona’s research facility, Science & Tech Park, were forced to evacuate as well, according to campus police.

Residents told to shelter in place were advised to turn off any heaters or air conditioning units that filter outside air indoors.

A witness living in the area said: “One mile radius? Seems lacking. I’m five miles away and can see the cloud….”

This comes as the town of East Palestine, Ohio, still reels after a train carrying hazardous materials derailed.

A West Virginia water utility is enhancing its water treatment process as a precaution following the incident, which saw about 50 cars, derailing in a fiery crash on February 3 in East Palestine, Ohio, US.

Vinyl chloride was released into the air from five of those cars before crews ignited it to get rid of the highly flammable, toxic chemicals in a controlled environment, creating a dark plume of smoke.

Residents from nearby neighborhoods in Ohio and Pennsylvania were evacuated because of health risks from the fumes, but have since been allowed to return.

A specialist in hazardous materials has now alarmed the community about the situation and urged all local residents to get a health check-up.

Silverado Caggiano told WKBN : “We basically nuked a town with chemicals so we could get a railroad open.”

Original Article

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