Truck explodes at Ventura County wastewater plant
November 20, 2014
A vacuum truck exploded at a Ventura County wastewater treatment plant early Tuesday morning, causing a mysterious chemical to shoot into the air sending 37 people to the hospital. [LA Times]
The explosion occurred around 3:45 a.m. while workers were removing 1,200 gallons of a chemical with the vacuum truck at a Santa Clara wastewater facility in Santa Paula. The blast caused an unknown chemical to crystallize and shoot at least 300 feet into the air.
Fire officials say the chemical is an organic peroxide, but it is unlike anything Ventura County firefighters have seen before.
“We don’t know what it is,” Fire Capt. Mike Lindberry said. “It’s bizarre.”
Following the explosion, authorities evacuated all businesses and agricultural ranches within a mile of the site. They also closed a school.
People began trickling into the hospital with complaints of burning eyes and difficulty breathing. The truck’s occupant, as well as three firefighters, were among those taken to the hospital.
Firefighters are working with the facility owner to determine the type of chemical that spilled. Hazmat crews are remaining at the site to monitor flare-ups.