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Spill closes streets, worries council

May 08, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Waynesboro's Center Square was blocked off to traffic - motor and pedestrian - for more than three hours Wednesday after a plastic container holding 300 gallons of toxic acid fell off a truck at a stoplight.

The container did not rupture, Waynesboro Fire Chief Dale Fishack said, but the incident prompted a discussion at the Waynesboro Borough Council meeting Wednesday night.

Borough Police Chief Ray Schultz said the incident was under investigation.

The container fell off as the tractor-trailer flatbed, which is owned by Foundry Service and Supply Co. Inc. of Pikesville, Md., was stopped for the traffic light in the northeast corner of the square around noon, Fishack said.

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Main Street was blocked off from Walnut to Potomac streets while crews covered manholes, brought in the Cumberland County Hazardous Materials team and put the container back on the truck without incident, Fishack said.

"If it had ruptured we would have had to evacuate some of the downtown area," Fishack told members of the Borough Council.

Councilman John Cook asked if the container was sufficiently strapped down.

"These things come through our town every day," Cook said. "They could cause more terror here than terrorists could do. Maybe we need to escort these trucks through town."

Fishack said the truck Wednesday was properly labeled for carrying hazardous materials.

"It could have been carried in the back of a pickup truck with no placard and we wouldn't even know it," he said.

Certified truck drivers are supposed to know how to properly secure such cargo, Fishack said.

Cook was not satisfied.

"It seems to me as if we are reactive, not proactive, and that puts our citizens in jeopardy," Cook said.

Fishack said the only way to have effective control would be to block off the ends of town and check every truck.

Councilman Clint Barkdoll suggested the borough charge the trucking company for the cost of handling the incident.

In addition to Waynesboro and the Cumberland County team, units from Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., and Greencastle, Pa., responded to the scene, Fishack said.

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