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Truck Filled with Acid Overturns in Arizona, Leading to Hazmat Alert and Another Emergency Evacuation

Arizona authorities have issued a hazmat alert and a ‘shelter in place’ warning is in effect for all individuals within a one mile radius of Tucson Arizona, after a truck carrying hazardous materials overturned on the I-10 highway.

Police scanners report that the toxic chemical leaking from the oveturned truck that is is nitric acid.  Nitric acid is highly corrosive. According to the CDC, Nitric acid (HNO₃) is a “colorless liquid with yellow or red fumes with an acrid odor.” Exposure to nitric acid can “cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and mucous membrane; it can also cause delayed pulmonary edema, pneumonitis, bronchitis, and dental erosion.”

Tucson Fire, Office of Emergency Management, Arizona DPS and the Department of Public Safety’s Hazardous Materials Response Unit are working on the response.

First responders are evacuating people near the crash “out of an abundance of caution,” according to DPS.

New footage of the truck carrying nitric acid surfaced on Tuesday night.

Police said that the truck was carrying about “2000 pounds of the toxic chemical nitric acid.”

This is the second consecutive day that a crash involving a vehicle transporting hazardous materials occurred near a major city. On Monday, an 18-wheeler ran into a train carrying hazardous materials, predominately household cleaning products, at about 7:30 a.m. Authorities said that there was no toxic chemicals released from the accident that should cause any public concern. The crash happened along Highway 59 in the area of Midline Road in Splendora City, located about 40 miles northeast of Houston. The truck driver was killed.

Two other train accidents happened on Monday. A train hit a man in Blount County, Tennessee while crossing the tracks. A train derailment in South Carolina also took place on Monday. An investigation into the cause of the derailment is ongoing.

This follows a February 3 train derailment near East Palestine, Ohio that led to an ecological emergency due to the lingering effects of numerous toxic chemicals. One toxic chemical in particular, vinyl chloride,  was dispersed in a controlled burn due to fears of an uncontrollable explosion. Local residents report that there have been sightings of numerous dead fish and livestock since the accident.

“We basically nuked a town with chemicals so we could get a railroad open,” said one hazardous materials specialist.

On January 28, there was another train derailment, which caused an acid spill. About 130 people in north Louisiana were ordered to evacuate due to a leak of corrosive chemicals.

The Union Pacific Railroad train derailed in the DeSoto Parish town of Keatchie, about 30 miles southwest of Shreveport.

“The initial investigation revealed that approximately 16 cars derailed, which caused the release of a corrosive liquid,” Odom said. “In the best interest of public safety, a mandatory evacuation for everyone in a 1.5-mile radius was issued.”

Preliminary inspection showed that 16 cars derailed and at least two are leaking “an acid-related” product, the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office told KTBS-TV.

Robynn Tysver, a spokesperson for Union Pacific, told the outlet that two rail cars spilled propinoic acid, which is used as a preservative, fungicide, and antimicrobial agent, and acetic anhydride, which is used in making plastics, drugs, dyes, perfumes, explosives and aspirin but there’s “no known impact to waterways at this time.”


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