Saturday, April 26th, 2014
By Margie Wuebker
Crash leads to call for haz-mat crew
A hazardous material cleanup crew was dispatched to the scene of a traffic accident near Mendon Friday night.
The crash, involving a semi-trailer and another vehicle, occurred at 5:12 p.m. along U.S. 33 between Celina-Mendon and Hasis roads.
Medics were called to check the occupants as a precaution, but no one was transported from the scene, according to preliminary reports from the Wapakoneta Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol.
Witnesses reportedly noticed a liquid leaking from the trailer and alerted local Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Robbins as well as the Mendon Fire Department.
Robbins said the substance, which has the consistency of liquid soap, was leaking slowly from a destroyed 250-gallon tote. Two additional totes were damaged, but the remaining 12 appeared to be intact, he said.
The substance, which is used in the production of plastics, contains methanol which can be flammable, Robbins said.
However, he said gas readings at the scene did not suggest high levels of methanol. No evacuation was needed as the accident scene is 75 to 100 yards away from any homes, he said.
"There was a good stiff wind that helps dissipate fumes," Robbins said.
Authorities contacted Con-way, the trucking firm which owns the semi-trailer, and officials dispatched a cleanup crew from Fort Wayne, Ind.
The crew was to remove the damaged totes, check the remaining ones and then focus on the spill, he said. Removal of soil in the ditch is likely, according to the EMA director.
Robbins said Mendon firefighters constructed a dike in a nearby ditch to contain the spill until the cleanup crew arrived.
He expected the section of U.S. 33 to remain closed for some time with Mercer County Emergency Response Volunteers providing traffic control.
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