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Hydrochloric acid leaks after train collides with semi


A train collided with a truck carrying hydrochloric acid in Centerville, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday morning.

Water Supply Threatened

The collision happened around 10:30 a.m.at the Route 88 and Maple Glenn Road when a train broadsided a tanker truck hauling hydrochloric acid as the truck crossed the railroad tracks. The tanker truck was dragged about 100 yards.

Witness John Mowry told the Observer-Reporter, “The whole valley filled up with vapors… The street is bubbling.

Hazmat crews were sent to the crash scene and are working to stop 4,400 gallons of hydrochloric acid from reaching the nearby Monongahela River. Emergency officials evacuated several nearby homes as a result of the chemical spill and are considering evacuating more if deemed.

An unknown amount of diesel fuel being hauled by the train has spilled onto the ground.

Eleven Injured

Medevac transported the truck driver to a Pittsburgh hospital and his condition is still unknown. Two others were taken to area hospitals and eight more were treated at the scene, all for exposure to the acid.

Windy conditions spread clouds of acid making it difficult for rescue crews to initially get to the driver.

Investigation Continues

Officials said the train pushed the semi truck 100 yards down the tracks and stated that the cause of the crash was unclear.

The Mon Line where the crash happened is owned by Norfolk Southern. The freight trains coal cars were empty.

State Environmental Agents Sent

The state Department of Environmental Protection sent several crew members to the scene, and was working with the Fish and Boat Commission to monitor the Monongahela River and downstream area for pH levels. Water companies that take water from the river downstream have been notified, a DEP press release said.

Route 88 is closed between Barney’s Run Road and Ridge Road and is expected to remain closed for an extended period, the state Department of Transportation said.

Governor Reacts

Gov. Tom Wolf said state agencies are working with local personnel.

“The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is engaged and working with county emergency personnel to ensure the continued safety of residents in the area,” he said in a statement. “I am in contact with PEMA and the Department of Environmental Protection and we are closely monitoring the situation. We will continue to update the public in that area as responders work to secure the situaion.”


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