Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 11:24 am | Fair 67º


Local News

Hazmat Incident Prompts Ventura County Evacuations

Injuries reported, Highway 126 shut down after incident near Santa Paula

Officials at Ventura County Medical Center Tuesday morning are working to decontaminate people who might have been exposed to an unknown substance involved in an explosion near Santa Paula.

Approximately 1,000 gallons of an unknown product were spilled after the rear of a vacuum truck exploded about 3:45 a.m. near the 800 block of Mission Rock Road, officials said.

Two people were injured in the original explosion but only one person was taken to Ventura County Medical Center at the time, said Ventura County Fire Department Captain Mike Lindbery.

The people in the truck said they had been sucking up sewage in the area, but fire officials soon realized they were dealing with a much different substance. The white liquid had spread to a 300 to 400 foot area and would spontaneously combust when dried, Lindbery explained.

Hazmat crews on scene have determined that the substance is “some sort of organic peroxide that is sensitive to shock, pressure and the application of water or oxygen,” Lindbery said.

Three firefighters were eventually taken to the hospital in Ventura with medical symptoms as well as the other person in the truck.

The immediate area has been evacuated and authorities are concerned about exposure to nearby Todd Road Jail. The Briggs Road exit to Highway 126 is closed and the smell of fumes is noticeable from the freeway.

It is unclear how many people have been exposed to the substance and the exact cause of the explosion is under investigation, Lindbery said.

Ventura city and county fire departments, as well as hazardous material crews from Oxnard and Santa Paula fire departments were on scene assisting with the situation.

[Click here for updates to this story from the Ventura County Star]

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