Monday, November 30, 2009

Kudos to our Fire Department

This long view gives a good idea of the area of the accident. You are looking north; the truck is on its side on the northbound side. Front street is below. You can see the dark area where 400 or so gallons of liquld HCl was released. Not a bad view of the new bridge coming up, just to the east of the Paseo Bridge. Photo from the Kansas City Star.
Still from KSHB video shows the rescue of the driver. Per the scanner traffic I heard, the driver was calm and able to give info to rescuers by cell phone about his load and other important details. His rescue occurred at 0730 or so, about 20 minutes after the accident was located.

Photo from KSHB shows hydrochloric acid vapor cloud coming up from overturned truck before the leaks were plugged. At the time of the crash there was a very light east wind. Fortunately, there were very few reported injuries from the fumes.

The Kansas City Fire Department did an outstanding job today keeping a potentially very serious situation from getting out of hand. An 18 wheeler carrying hydrochloric acid rolled on its side, and started leaking. Quickly the fire department got resources to the site, dammed the acid and plugged the leak in the truck. By 1030, the plume of acid vapor had dissipated and it was safe. Isle of Capri casino just to the east, "sheltered in place" with their HVAC off, until the threat passed. I thought this was a wise move, because the area was riddled with traffic problems. All the rush hour south bound traffic had to be stopped and those still on the bridge had to turn around and exit back at Armour 210. All the north bound traffic either had to come forward to Front Street or turn around and exit somewhere south of there. Lord knows where since the Paseo exit is closed. Keep all those cars at the casino I thought which is what they did. An outstanding job. As I write, southbound is open and northbound still closed.

One thing I thought was really cool as I listened in to the radio traffic: the cooperation between the agencies. Even though the capacity for MAST, the fire department and the police department to actually talk to each other on the radio is very small, they were able to communicate through the communications centers and dispatchers very well. When the fire department wanted to get police officers who had no Air Pacs on out of the area of the fumes, the word was quickly given to the PD to evacuate and let protected FD and Haz Mat people take over the last of traffic directing. MAST made sure that hospitals were ready if there were many casualties and Truman Medical Center was the designated first choice hospital for patients from the incident. Well done all around.
This is what all that practice is for, all those drills. For this. A great job.
Here's one of many good news reports; this one from KSHB, has the best video of the plume and also the rescue of the driver.

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