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Chemical spill, explosion injures 2 in Mercury

MERCURY — At least two people suffered injuries following a tanker truck chemical spill and explosion along U.S. 95 near Mercury on Wednesday morning, Oct. 18.

Pahrump Fire Chief Scott Lewis, who also serves as the director of Nye County Emergency Services, said local fire crews along with additional area resources from Mercury and Amargosa Valley responded to the scene near mile marker 7.

Hazardous chemical

“The initial report indicated an explosion with two possible injuries,” Lewis told the Pahrump Valley Times. “It was described as a semi-truck loaded with Hydrogen Peroxide. As our crews arrived on location, they found a tanker truck with evidence of an explosion which rocketed the truck approximately 150 to 200 feet down the highway.”

Higher concentration

Lewis said approximately 4,000 gallons of the chemical was spilled as a result of the incident, while noting that it’s not the same type of consumer product that can be purchased out of a drugstore.

“It had an approximate 30 percent concentration versus the approximate 3 percent concentration you could purchase over the counter,” he noted. “Given certain circumstances, it can be flammable so when we respond to an incident like this, we adhere to our emergency response guidelines, depending on the placards that are marked on the the vehicle, or the manifest and documents that are also provided in the truck, determine exactly what our hazards are.”

Mitigation efforts

Clean-up crews were hired by the trucking company where a plan was executed to mitigate the chemical spill and remove debris off of the roadway.

The tanker driver, Lewis said, sustained chemical inhalation injuries, while a passerby sustained burns to their hand from chemical contact.

At least one person was transported to UMC, while a second opted not to be transported.

An investigation into the cause of the incident is underway.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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