After a crash and a hazardous materials leak on Interstate 10 in the metropolitan region of Tucson, Arizona, authorities ordered a shelter-in-place as well as some evacuations. It was reported on Tuesday by the Arizona Department of Public Safety that a vehicle carrying liquid nitric acid was involved in an accident in the region, where it rolled over and broke open. The driver of the truck was killed.
According to the information provided by the Arizona Department of Transportation, Interstate 10 is currently blocked in the area in both directions, and there is no estimated time for the highway’s reopening. The DPS stated that individuals who were evacuated will stay so for the foreseeable future even though the shelter-in-place order was revoked at 8:40 p.m. The radius of the evacuation was less than a half mile from the location of the collision.
Nitric acid is “extremely poisonous by inhalation,” as stated by the National Library of Medicine, and it is also “corrosive to metals or tissue,” according to the same source. According to the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) website, “Prolonged exposure to low concentrations or short-term exposure to high concentrations may result in harmful health effects.” The most common applications for the chemical are in the manufacture of explosives and fertilizers.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department gave the order for everyone working at the University of Arizona Science & Tech Park to leave the building immediately. The Vail School District reported that the majority of kids in the Rita Ranch area had already gone home; however, children who were engaged in after-school activities at schools located inside the alert zone were relocated indoors.
The Vail school system requested parents to pick their children up as quickly as they could after canceling all school activity buses and activities. According to a statement released by DPS in an email, “The Department’s Hazardous Materials Response Unit, in conjunction with partner agencies, are working collaboratively to mitigate the situation.” First responders are currently attempting to clear a perimeter around the scene of the event in an effort to err on the side of extreme caution.