Delaware City Fire Company Response to Crash with Hazardous Materials
On Tuesday August 2, 2023, at 08:58 am, New Castle County 911 began receiving calls for a motor vehicle collision with rollover on Route 1 Southbound just South of Wrangle Hill Road. As fire department and EMS resources were being dispatched, a New Castle County Paramedic Supervisor and a Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Officer happened upon the scene and advised that it was a two vehicle collision involving a flatbed truck (one occupant) and a pickup truck (four occupants) hauling a landscaping trailer. The flatbed involved was hauling three large totes containing 1,300 gallons of a chlorine solution used in water treatment and for pool cleaning and the totes were leaking. With the additional information, a hazardous materials response was requested bringing resources from the HAZMAT/DECON teams in New Castle County and Kent County as well as DNREC. With no nearby fire hydrants, a tanker task force was also requested bringing three fire tankers, each carrying at least three thousand gallons of water, to provide a water supply for the incident. An isolation area was established following industry standards and crews controlled access to the scene while simultaneously deploying hose lines to protect the scene and to address any vapor clouds. Three patients were assessed by Delaware City and Christiana ambulances but declined to be transported. Fortunately, all occupants were able to exit the vehicles safely.
Leadership from Delaware City Fire Company, DNREC Emergency Response, Delaware State Fire School, Delaware State Police, and DELDOT worked together to ensure the safety of the public, implement lane closures and traffic control, and to formulate a plan to mitigate the hazardous materials leak. Fire department personnel wearing full personal protective equipment performed two brief entries into the hot zone to remove additional hazards (totes of muriatic acid). Lewis Environmental was contracted by DNREC to pump off the chlorine solution and a specialized vacuum truck had to respond from Pennsylvania which would take several hours. Delaware State Police were able to escort the truck through portions of Delaware to help it arrive as quickly as possible. When the truck arrived, HAZMAT technicians from DNREC made entry into the hot zone to drill into the tanks and begin the pump off operation. Once this was completed the hazard was rendered safe and the scene was turned over to DNREC, DSP, and DELDOT while Reynolds Towing removed the vehicles from the scene. Crews operated on scene for nearly 7 hours in 80+ degree temperatures. Deputy Chief Michael Maxwell had Delaware City Command. Thank you to all of the responding agencies for their assistance as well as Minquas Fire Company and Good Will Fire Company which provided coverage for Delaware City.