A truck crash in southern Arizona spilled large quantities of a highly corrosive acid along I-10, closed down the interstate and led to an evacuation.
The crash released gallons of nitric acid along a highway in Tuscon. The Tuesday incident was severe enough to cause a Hazmat team to come to the scene.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was killed in the crash. The truck rolled over during the accident and led to a “significant closure” of the highway.
–AZDPS Investigating Collision and Hazardous Materials Spill on Interstate 10 in Tucson–
— Dept. of Public Safety (@Arizona_DPS) February 15, 2023
The stretch of Interstate 10 was closed b the Arizona Department of Public Safety and officials called for those within a one-mile radius of the site to remain in place. A perimeter of a half-mile around the area was also evacuated.
Local media reported that the Arizona Department of Public Safety is working with other agencies to reduce the possible chance for public harm.
Local media reported that the nearby school district canceled all school activity buses that afternoon and the district weighed whether to cancel classes Wednesday.
The shelter-in-place order was not lifted until almost 9 p.m. local time Tuesday.
The chemical, nitric acid, can cause a number of health issues, including irritation of the eyes, skin, lungs, and throat. It is especially dangerous when breathed in.
Exposure can also cause bronchitis and damage to teeth. It is often used in the manufacture of explosives and fertilizer.
The most recent crash comes less than two weeks after the high-profile train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The 50 train car derailment has caused considerable media attention, including following the deaths of thousands of animals.
The two incidents are not directly related, though their timing is likely to add to public pressure surrounding Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg received significant criticism for his department’s slow response to the Ohio crash.
A separate January 2022 crash along I-10 caused by a tractor-trailer killed five people. Authorities suspected distracted driving in the crash that led to the highway being closed for eleven hours.