Hazardous chemical spill impacting Fort Payne schools, business

Containers used in Rainsville chemical spill clean-up now impacting business in Fort Payne
Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 10:52 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2022 at 9:31 AM CDT
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RAINSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A wreck involving an 18-wheeler caused a hazardous material spill on Highway 75 in Rainsville on Thursday. Now, Fort Payne officials have blocked access to a local business after a potential threat was discovered with materials removed from the crash site.

According to Fort Payne Mayor Brian Baine, storage containers with runoff from the spill were transported to a lot on Gault Ave. Baine said the containers were in a “very combustible” situation stored in the truck. Officials unscrewed lids on the containers to help relieve building pressure in the containers. It is believed this process will help to avoid possible evacuation of the immediate area.

Baine said a plan is underway to remove the truck from the area. Crews from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management are heading to the scene as well.

The truck crash blocked the major Rainsville intersection for hours as seen in the below security camera footage.

The video was provided to WAFF by Rudy Garza

At the time of the crash, the DeKalb County EMA recommended that people evacuate at least 1,000 feet from the area because there was a “threat to life.” Officers on the scene said the chemical was Hydrogen Peroxide with a concentration rate above 30%. Since the concentration rate gives it a thermodynamic property, which means it creates its own heat, the substance was very reactive. According to EMA, the substance is often used in textiles for bleaching.

According to Fort Payne Chief of Police David Davis, all roads that were affected by the move of the hazardous substance in Fort Payne are open as of Friday evening.

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting

On Thursday, the DeKalb County EMA posted on Twitter that the school board is rerouting busses as the intersection of Highway 75 and Main Street will remain closed for over three hours.

Officials on the scene used fire suppression tactics and are blocking drains.

A Rainsville Police dispatcher said the truck was the only vehicle involved in the crash. The truck wrecked while trying to maneuver around construction. The driver sustained no injuries.

Plainview School created a boundary map showing parents if they live within the boundary and their child is a bus rider, they must pick their child up from the school.

The Rainsville Chamber of Commerce Facebook page tracked businesses closed due to the spill. DeKalb County HSEMA allowed residents to return to their homes on Thursday evening.

18-wheeler wreck causes ‘threat to life’ hazmat spill in Rainsville, residents can go home
18-wheeler wreck causes ‘threat to life’ hazmat spill in Rainsville, residents can go home(DCALHSEMA)