Hazmat Crews Clean-up Chemical Spill at Cargill

By Nadia Crow, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Firefighters and hazmat crews spent Sunday cleaning up a chemical spill in Cedar Rapids.

Crews responded to Cargill, 1710 16th Street Southeast, at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday. A semi-trailer driver noticed hydrochloric acid spilling out of his tanker.

Cedar Rapids Police blocked off a half mile radius around the plant while firefighters and Linn County Hazmat crews accessed the tanker, with 46,000 pounds of hydrochloric acid to deal with. Anyone who got close had to be wearing a Hazmat suit and then decontaminated after contact with the tanker or the chemical.

"It has a corrosive effect. It's going to burn you. It's the skin, the eyes and the respiratory and intestines. Basically it can be lethal in large doses," said Cedar Rapids Fire Department Spokesperson Greg Buelow.

Linn County HAZMAT crews spotted the leak coming from a nickel-sized hole in the side of the tank. Crews used an air bag to stop the leak, then transferred the acid into another tanker. None of the people in the nearby homes were evacuated. No injuries were reported. Emergency crews left the plant around 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
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