Nitric acid spill in Arizona leads to evacuation, shelter-in-place orders
Residents within a half-mile perimeter of the spill were ordered to evacuate due to the possible negative effects of the spill
February 15, 2023 1:36am
Updated: February 15, 2023 10:43am
A deadly rollover on a freeway near Tucson, Arizona on Tuesday afternoon morning resulted in a nitric acid spill, leading to “extensive road closures” and several evacuation orders, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
A commercial truck tractor pulling a box trailer rolled over on Interstate 10 at around 2:43 p.m. on Tuesday, causing the spill of nitric acid in liquid form, Pima County officials said.
Residents within a half-mile perimeter of the spill were ordered to evacuate due to the possible negative effects of the spill. People within a one-mile perimeter were told to shelter in place and were asked to avoid turning on their air conditioning or heating units.
Multiple schools and a university were affected by the crash, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
The Tucson Fire Department announced that a portion of Interstate 10 will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The Arizona Department of Public Safety added that drivers should anticipate an “extensive” closure and should seek other routes.
Tucson Fire Hazmat Team working with our partners at @Arizona_DPS to control the hazmat and brush fire incidents at Rita and I10. Continue to avoid the area, I10 will remain closed an extended period of time. Stay safe @cityoftucson pic.twitter.com/oM4WKD5C0E— Tucson Fire Department (@TucsonFireDept) February 14, 2023
Nitric acid is a highly corrosive chemical used to manufacture fertilizer, dyes, and explosives, among others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals exposed to the chemical can suffer from pneumonitis, bronchitis, dental erosion, and irritation to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes.
Authorities said that the driver of the commercial vehicle was pronounced dead later that evening. His identity has not yet been disclosed.