Big rig accident turns into HazMat scare

August 1, 2012 5:34:47 PM PDT
Several EMS workers had to be decontaminated after responding to a big rig crash in Liberty County. Investigators don't know why the truck driver lost control and crashed into a tree along Highway 59 just north of Cleveland.

Those who responded were exposed to chemicals in the truck, and they were taken to Ben Taub Hospital in Houston's Medical Center. An 18-wheeler accident near Cleveland turned the outside of the trauma center into a HazMat scene with crews suited up and EMS workers quarantined.

Witnesses describe it as an alarming scene, one that could have been right out of a movie. The level one trauma center was on high-alert and transformed for a HazMat situation, with a blue tarp draped across the emergency room entrance and medical staff in HazMat gear.

"It was just wild," said one witness. "They said you can't go back in the building."

In the middle of it all, were five Cleveland EMS workers who were responding to an 18 wheeler crash along highway 59 just north of Cleveland Fire officials say when he crashed his truck it cause a chemical spill on the highway and officials feared he, along with all of the medical team, had been contaminated.

So each EMS workers who transported the victim was forced to remove their clothes behind the tarp as they were washed down and decontaminated.

"I saw these three girls coming out in sheets," the witness said.

The chemical was later tested and Ben Taub officials say they discovered it's a non-hazardous chemical called alkaline sulfate a substance that is used to mix soap.

The driver is in critical condition at Ben Taub Hospital. He had to be removed from the cab of the truck.

Load Comments