Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tractor-Trailer Carrying Toxic Chemicals Burns On I-81

On July 31, 1981 at 4:10 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to Penn Township, Interstate 81, Southbound, just south of the Huntsdale rest area for a tractor-trailer fire. The truck was carrying eight 4,000 pound steel containers of sodium hydrosulfite at the time. It was speculated that moisture in one of the containers along with the summer heat caused on of the containers to explode causing the fire. When the chemical is exposed to high temperatures and or light moisture is produces toxic sulfur dioxide gas. More than 125 firefighter from 18 companies battled the fire, most of those 18 companies supplied tank trucks to shuttle water. At 8:30 p.m. a forklift was used to try and remove the material from the trailer, but only some could be removed and a larger forklift was requested. Firefighters remained on the scene until 4:30 a.m., the interstate was reopened at 5:40 the next morning. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries. The Vigilant Hose, Cumberland Valley Hose and West End Fire and Rescue companies assisted at the scene.

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