Chemical Spill

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

Crews were still arriving on the scene when I arrived.

"We found out that the trailer has pool chemicals and some other products in it, it appeared it wasn't actually a fire. It was a chemical reaction going on," said Lt. John Huddle, Rockingham Co. Asst. Fire Marshall.

The chemical reaction was between HDH sock it and HTH pool stabilizer conditioner. Common chemicals for anyone with a pool, but when mixed together, a reaction set it smoking.

"It's believed to be smoldering right now in the trailer and we expect at some point very shortly it’s going to break out, then it will be allowed to burn," added Huddle.

Crews had to stand around and watch as it continued to smoke while I was on the scene, it never went up in flames.

"We're reassessing our needs. We're probably going to send some companies back and have them on standby if we need them."

The smoldering chemicals could not just be hosed down as in a normal fire. Lieutenant Huddle says adding water to it would just make it a bigger environmental problem. And they can't put the crews in anymore risk.

"We can't go into and try to deal with the situation that we don't know exactly what's going on and putting our people at risk when the better thing to do with a hazmat is to let the chemical reaction take its course," said Huddle.

Traffic was backed up all the way to exit 251; traffic is still being diverted at exit 257 and able to return to 81 in New Market.

The 911 center says anyone in the area should keep their windows closed and should not go outside. Anyone experiencing problems or with questions can call the command center at 480-3146.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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