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Chemical spill shuts down Shelby Highway

Source:, January 23, 2019
By: Tim Gulla

Authorities were forced to close down a stretch of Shelby Highway on Monday and detour traffic for about three hours after an accident involving a tractor trailer led to a chemical leak.
Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department personnel initially were called to the area of Shelby and Blacksburg highways at about 9 a.m. regarding a fuel spill but discovered upon arrival that a trailer had somehow slipped off its hitch and detached, Fire Chief Josh Parker said.
A chemical was leaking from the damaged trailer and a placard on the trailer indicated it was hauling a corrosive material.
Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Rick Peterson said it subsequently was learned the truck was carrying a 55-gallon drum of a lightweight machine oil and two 275 gallon totes of phosphoric acid.
A test on the leaking material didn’t show any acid but it subsequently was discovered that it was indeed one of the phosphoric acid containers that was leaking.
Peterson said the acid was very mild.
A local towing company was able to stabilize and lift the damaged trailer and get it re-attached to the tractor. An environmental cleanup firm was summoned to the scene and soda ash was spread over the area where the chemical was leaking. It was expected that the soil where the chemical leaked also would be removed.
Buffalo Volunteer Fire Department and Grassy Pond Volunteer Fire Departments helped man the detour, which diverted Shelby Highway traffic onto Old Buffalo Church Road. Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department members also responded to the scene with their hazardous materials-response trailer and equipment.
No injuries occurred.
The tractor-trailer reportedly had just made a delivery to a Blacksburg plant and was transporting another trailer to Shelby, N.C., when the trailer slipped its hitch.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol and South Carolina State Transport Police both responded.
phoric acid.

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