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Hazmat evacuating my town due to large chemical spill
OVERTURNED TRUCK CAUSES HAZMAT EVACUATION IN WIND GAP AREA
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[ WEB LINK: ( CDC Information on Hydrogen Fluoride ) ]
Northampton County has issued an IMMEDIATE EVACUATION for a radius of one mile in the area of Wind Gap and Route 33. Officials say a truck hauling 33,000 pounds of hydrogen fluoride overturned on Route 33 near mile-marker 17 in Plainfield Township, Northampton County this morning. An estimated 5,000 residents living within at least a one-mile radius of the incident, which includes parts of Wind Gap borough and Plainfield and Bushkill townships, have been told to leave their homes. An evacuation center has been set up at Pen Argyl High School. [ MAP TO HIGH SCHOOL ] Pets will be accepted. Officials say evacuees should plan to be away from their homes for 12 to 24 hours. At this point, emergency management officials tell us the hydrogen fluoride acid is not spilling from the truck, but it is "pop gassing." They describe that term to mean that some gas is being released into the air because of the build-up of pressure in the tank. Officials say the plan is to use soda ash to neutralize the liquid form of the chemical if it were to begin spilling.
We're told the driver of the truck was taken to the hospital, but has since been treated and released. There are no other reported injuries at this time.
Emergency Management officials say they've upgraded their response from a Level III to a Level II based on the amount of crews needed for the incident. The highest response on that scale is a Level I. We're told the American Red Cross and the Eastern PA EMS Council are among the agencies involved.
Hydrofluoric acid is said to be highly corrosive and poisonous. First signs of a problem would be a burning sensation.