Three people were hospitalized Wednesday afternoon after their vehicle struck a container of powdered chlorine that fallen onto the the highway west of Buellton, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
The incident occurred shortly after 1:30 p.m in the 6100 block of Highway 246, said fire Capt. David Sadecki.
A truck carrying the chlorine made a turn onto the highway, and its tailgate came down, dropping a 5-gallon bucket onto the roadway, Sadecki said.
The bucket was then struck by a vehicle and dragged down the highway, spreading the chlorine.
Three people in the vehicle, which had its windows open at the time, suffered moderate respiratory distress from the chlorine, and were taken to a local hospital, Sadecki said.
Details on their conditions were not immediately available.
A hazmat crew was called in to clean up the mess, and one eastbound lane of Highway 246 was closed for more than an hour.