Bay Bridge truck spill reeks of citrus

September 27, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS -- A truck hauling a food additive spilled 5 gallons of the chemical near the Bay Bridge yesterday morning, closing two lanes of traffic and spreading a citric smell over the toll plaza.

Firefighters had the spill, which occurred minutes before 10 a.m., under control in a matter of hours. No traffic backup was reported on U.S. 50.

Two people -- including an Anne Arundel County firefighter -- were injured, but a department spokesman said neither incident was directly related to the spill.

The spokesman, Capt. Gary Sheckells, said the driver of an open-back truck hauling several 55-gallon drums of "orange oil" from South Carolina to New Jersey stopped in the far right, eastbound lane of U.S. 50 just before the bridge to check his tire pressure.

It was then he noticed that about 5 gallons of the chemical had spilled from a punctured drum.

"There was a very strong odor of tangerine throughout the area of the toll plaza," Captain Sheckells said. "It presented a minimal hazard."

But because the chemical was highly concentrated, Captain Sheckells said it could cause mild irritation to the eyes, nose and mouth as well as skin.

The hazardous materials unit contained the spill, and representatives from Jevic Transport Co. of New Jersey were on their way to the site yesterday to clean up the spill and haul away the drums.

Fire officials said one firefighter on the scene suffered hypertension and was taken to the hospital for evaluation. Officials also said a worker in the toll plaza administration building suffered a cardiac problem and was hospitalized for evaluation.

Neither injury was a direct result of the chemical spill, Captain Sheckells said.

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