wtov9.com. July 25, 2006
Toxic Chemical Leaks Near Shopping Plaza
Just before 5 p.m. Monday, the driver of a Bayer truck pulled into the Kroger's parking lot in Moundsville, after looking out of his mirror and seeing a leak from his truck.
"A truck driver noticed there was something leaking from the back of the box of his truck," said Moundsville Fire Chief Noel Clarke. "He went ahead and called the Bayer Response Team out, and called 911."
When Hazmat crews and Moundsville firefighters arrived on scene, they found that a 55-gallon drum of a chemical called IPDI had spilled in the truck, and was dripping onto the ground near the parking lot. Clarke said the chemical is poisonous if inhaled or ingested. He said he evacuated all cars that were in the area where the truck was parked.
News of the leak spread quickly to local shoppers. "I heard there was a chemical spill," said Angela Fabrizio of Moundsville. "It's kind of scary, especially for these little kids, we don't want them around that stuff."
Clarke said the spill would not harm the public because crews worked fast to clean up the small amount that leaked out. "The quantity that got out wasn't any danger to the public," said Clarke. Crews had the scene cleaned up by 9 p.m., and there were no injuries. Clarke said the chemical is used to make a foam insulation product.
Natalie Pasquarella, NEWS9
A potentially serious chemical spill occurred Monday in Moundsville, but officials said "everything was on our side" and nobody was actually in danger during the incident.
Moundsville police Lt. Dave Robinson, who was the law enforcement officer in charge of the scene, said a PJAX delivery truck was headed north on W.Va. 2 when the spill occurred. The driver "did us a favor" by pulling his truck off W.Va. 2 and into the Kroger parking lot just south of 12th Street, Robinson said. He said this allowed W.Va. 2 to remain open to traffic throughout the incident, but he noted that, had the spill been larger, it would have placed people and emergency responders in that part of the city in a "more volatile area."
According to Robinson, the truck was carrying low-grade cyanide, a chemical that is commonly hauled by PJAX carriers and that is commonly hauled throughout the local area.
"Everything was on our side," Robinson said. "The wind was blowing the right way, and the container held up better than it should."
He said the product was in liquid form, contained in two barrels inside the truck. Only one of those barrels leaked. Robinson said another item being transported may have slid into the barrel, causing it to fall or puncturing it.
Robinson was uncertain whether the chemical is manufactured by the Bayer Corp. facility located along W.Va. 2 south of Moundsville, but he did point out that the driver contacted Bayer's HAZMAT team after pulling off the roadway. Robinson said the hazardous materials team responded and determined an actual spill had occurred. Team members then called 911, and dispatchers contacted the police department around 4:40 p.m.
The Bayer HAZMAT team monitored air quality throughout the event, according to Robinson, as the product can present a danger as an inhalant.
"It had very little effect on the atmosphere," Robinson noted.
In fact, he said by 8:30 p.m. Monday the most recent air quality reading had indicated a concentration of the chemical of zero parts per billion.
"There was no danger to anyone at any time," Robinson said, noting he expected the HAZMAT team and others to clear the scene by late evening.
The driver, who did get some of the product on his skin, was decontaminated at the scene and refused transport to a medical facility, saying he was fine.
In addition to the Moundsville Police Department, the Moundsville City and Moundsville Volunteer fire departments responded, along with a local representative of the state fire marshal and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
Robinson stressed that no evacuation was necessary, saying only a few cars in the parking lot were moved as a precaution and to allow emergency responders more room to work. The Kroger store was able to continue normal operations throughout the afternoon and evening, he said.
City Fire Chief Noel Clarke was still at scene around 8:30 p.m. and could not be reached for comment.
By JENNIFER COMPSTON-STROUGH