Hydrochloric acid leaks near businesses in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Hydrochloric acid leaked near businesses in Dubuque early Friday afternoon.

The Dubuque Dire Department as well as multiple hazmat teams were called to Rousselot Inc. and are currently in the process of cleanup.

Fire officials say they were called to the business at 2350 Kerper Blvd. just before 12:30 Friday afternoon, about one mile north of downtown Dubuque.

Wayne Dow, who serves as EMS Supervisor for the Dubuque Fire Department, said they were able to get the leak under control quickly, but they were on scene for hours to ensure the acid was neutralized.

Fire officials on scene said the leak came from a storage tank behind the business, where they were dealing with "about 200 gallons" of hydrochloric acid.

Members of the Dubuque Fire Department used a white powder to cover and contain the spill and keep it from leaking any further.

Multiple fire trucks and the Dubuque hazmat team worked to contain the spill.

Dow said operations like these normally take a long time to clean up, but crews are forced to move quicker in emergency situations.

"Any time you have an acid spill, you're always worried about the potential that it gets to the environment, it gets exposed to the public because it can cause some burns and such," Dow said. "Right now it is contained and the public's in no danger at this time."

Around the area there was a strong odor around the building- and with the wind adjacent businesses could smell the acid as well.

One man working next door was told by fire crews to stay inside because he was breathing in too much of the acid.

Dow explained while the hazmat team is prepared for these situations, they do not expect to respond to them normally.

"We don't get hazardous spills with the acids very often," Dow said. "It's just a slow meticulous operation that you slowly build your way back to try to get to the neutral stage of [pH level] seven."

Earlier Friday afternoon, a paramedic was called to the scene, but it was precautionary.

The Dubuque Fire Department say no one was hurt and no one was forced to evacuate after the spill.

It is unknown at this time what started the leak.