Spill of flammable fluid closes I-10 lanes Saturday - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Spill of flammable fluid closes I-10 lanes Saturday

For cleanup, precaution, closure tops 4 hours

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Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 11:00 pm

Explorer staff report

Westbound lanes on Interstate 10 between Orange Grove and Ina in the Northwest were closed for nearly five hours Saturday night after a truck leaked an unspecified volume of a flammable fluid.

The truck's driver stopped just short of the Ina Road exit after being alerted to a blown tire. As he went to check the tires, the driver noted a liquid leaking from the trailer. Emergency responders were called just after 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Hazardous materials crews from Northwest Fire District identified the 18-wheeler was carrying 12,000 gallons of isoproponal, used as a stabilizer to prevent molds in liquid perfumes, pharmaceuticals and dyes. They found that one of four "totes" - aluminum tanks carrying 3,000 gallons each of the chemical - had a failure in its pressure relief device.

Northwest Fire speculated the heat caused an increase in tank pressure, triggering the relief devices on all four tanks. On one tank, the pressure device did not close after pressure was reduced.

A private clean-up company was called to off-load that tank, and the remaining tanks were emptied by 200 gallons to allow more space for pressure buildups for the remainder to the trip to California.

Much of the spilled liquid evaporated. "It reacts just like a rubbing alcohol," said Adam Goldberg, spokesman for Northwest Fire. "Maybe 10 gallons" was spilled.

Seven people, including the two drivers, were evaluated at the scene for possible exposure, but were released without injury, according to Northwest Fire.

A secondary accident caused by the road closures resulted in minor injuries.

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