Chemical spill on 144 causes traffic shutdown, cleanup

<p id="m_6328466422202578217gmail-docs-internal-guid-93a2922e-3aaa-18f3-4b20-d9812e44edb1" dir="ltr">Hundreds of gallons of phosphoric acid leaked from a semi-truck onto County Road 144 west of State Road 37 this morning, causing both roads to be closed as first responders worked to determine what chemical had been spilled.</p>
<p dir="ltr">The phosphoric acid was for use as a metal cleaning agent. The corrosive acid would have caused contact burns had it touched anyone’s skin, Bargersville Fire Department Chief Jason Ramey said.</p>
<p dir="ltr">No one was injured, but the driver was decontaminated because he had stepped in some of the leaking material, Ramey said.</p>
<p dir="ltr">A driver following a semi-truck that was headed west on County Road 144 about 7:20 a.m. noticed a chemical leaking from the truck. The driver called 911, and the Bargersville Police Department stopped the truck west of State Road 37, Ramey said.</p>
<p dir="ltr">The driver wasn’t aware of what he was carrying, meaning that the chemical could have been anything from a harmless and edible food additive to something dangerous and corrosive, he said.</p>
<p dir="ltr">County Road 144 and its intersection with State Road 37 were closed as a precautionary measure. Employees and patrons at a nearby gas station and restaurant were asked to stay inside, Ramey said.</p>
<p dir="ltr">Not knowing what the liquid was, the Greenwood Fire Department’s hazmat team was called to the scene, he said.</p>
<p dir="ltr">Tests on the scene showed that it was phosphoric acid that had been stored in a 260-gallon tank inside the box-trailer. The chemical had leaked from the trailer onto the road and into a nearby drainage ditch, Ramey said.</p>
<p dir="ltr">No one was injured by the chemicals, and the leak shouldn’t impact any water supplies. The semi-driver, who had stepped in some of it at the scene, was decontaminated, he said.</p>
<p dir="ltr">The remaining issue is the environmental impact of the spill. A clean-up company is coming to dig up the soil and do some testing, Ramey said.</p>
<p dir="ltr">County Road 144 and State Road 37 were open as of about <span class="aBn"><span class="aQJ">9:30 a.m.</span></span> <span class="aBn"><span class="aQJ">Wednesday</span></span>, but may close temporarily later today during the cleanup, he said.</p>
<p dir="ltr">The Bargersville Fire Department, Bargersville Police Department, Indiana State Police and the Greenwood Fire Department all responded to the scene, Ramey said.</p>