March 31, 2017

Archives for March 14, 2017

1 dead after 30-vehicle crash, chemical spill on Highway 401 near Kingston (29 patients treated at hospital, including 13 first responders who underwent decontamination)

COF-COF Special News Find 300 x 300By: CBC News 14-Mar- 2017 (Last Updated 15-Mar-2017) – Kingston General Hospital says one person has died following a massive, 30-vehicle crash on Highway 401 east of the city that spilled a toxic substance at the scene.

The afternoon pileup closed the highway in both directions and forced motorists to evacuate from the area.

In a statement Tuesday evening, the Kingston hospital said it received 29 patients from the crash scene, including 13 first responders who underwent decontamination and were held for observation as a precaution. Some of the patients have already been released.

The OPP said a male driver of one of the tractor-trailers involved in the crash died as a result of his injuries.

The hazardous material unit was called in because some of the tractor-trailers involved in the crash were carrying caustic materials, later identified as fluorosilicic acid, according to the hospital.

“Exposure to the chemical could cause irritation to the nose, throat, respiratory system, irritation, redness or swelling of the skin and severe eye irritation,” the statement said.

The flood of patients has diminished and the hospital declared a code orange over at 8 p.m. ET. According to the Ontario Hospital Association, code orange is used in the event of an external disaster resulting in a surge of casualties seeking care at a hospital urgent or emergency department.

“One of the involved transports is leaking a toxic substance, as a precaution the area is being evacuated,” said Const. Sandra Barr in a news release. “Both east and westbound 401 will be closed to allow for the investigation. Detours have been set up.”

The eastbound and westbound lanes of Highway 401 remain closed from Reynolds Road to Mallorytown Road.

Barr told CBC News some first responders were exposed to the chemical while coming to the aid of the driver of a transport truck, who was taken to hospital for his injuries.

“The five firefighters, for sure, were involved in trying to rescue this driver who was in his transport, and the three police officers as well,” she said.

Medical attention required

The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, where the crash occurred, said in a statement that the site has been contained.

“All vehicles have been rerouted and all persons with potential chemical exposure having been transported for medical attention. No residential properties were affected and there is no risk to the general public,” a spokesperson for the township wrote at 5:15 p.m. on the municipality’s Facebook page.

“The Ministry of the Environment has been notified and cleanup crews have arrived on site to remediate the area from the chemical spill.”

Police described conditions on the highway as “near whiteout” when the crash occurred around 2 p.m. ET.

Gananoque police posted a message on their Facebook page saying that according to the Leeds Fire Department, the hazardous material that leaked turns into hydrofluoric acid if exposed to heat.

“Hydrofluoric acid is a highly toxic, highly corrosive and poisonous solution which is harmful to skin, lungs and eyes.”

Decontamination bay

Kingston General Hospital set up a decontamination bay for patients, according to spokesperson John Pereira.

Non-critical emergency patients were rerouted to Hotel Dieu Hospital, also in Kingston, said Pereira.

Police asked motorists at the scene to stay in their vehicles while emergency crews carried out their work.

Emergency responders from the surrounding area, including Ottawa fire services, were at the scene.

About 30 vehicles, mostly tractor-trailers, were involved in the crash, according to Acting Sgt. Angie Atkinson.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/highway-401-collision-1.4024721

One dead after multiple transport collision, chemical spill on Highway 401

COF-COF Special News Find 300 x 300By: Cris Vilela, Kingston Heritage, Kingston, Ontario 14-Mar-2017 – OPP report that one male is deceased following the multi-vehicle pile-up and chemical spill that took place on Highway 401 in Leeds and Thousand Islands Township Tuesday afternoon.

Ian Meville, 45, of Hamilton, was transported to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Meville was a transport driver involved in the westbound primary collision.

The incident was labelled a “mass casualty event” due to the high number of people exposed to a hazardous material, which leaked from one of the tractor trailers involved.

An OPP investigation revealed that there were in fact two separate collisions. The primary collision occurred just east of Highway 137 and involved five tractor trailers and one car. Police say the driver of one of the tractor trailers has since succumbed to his injuries.

The secondary collision also took place in the westbound lanes, about one kilometer west of the first and involved seven tractor trailers and three vehicles. There were multiple chain reactions after the fact behind those two collisions. In the same vicinity on eastbound Highway 401, three other tractor trailers were involved in collisions.

The leaked hazardous material, fluorosilicic acid, turns into hydrofluoric acid if exposed to heat, according to the Leeds Fire Department. Hydrofluoric acid is a highly toxic, highly corrosive and poisonous solution which is harmful to skin, lungs and eyes. Extrication of the driver carrying the liquid was required after the transport ended up in a ditch. A HAZMAT team was called to the site. The transport was carrying between 7,000 and 10,000 litres of this liquid*, most of which leaked all over the roadway.

Several people were reported to have become covered in the hazardous liquid. The fire department set up a decontamination area in the eastbound lanes to treat those exposed; they were instructed to disrobe and remove contact lenses if they had them.

OPP report that a total of seven firefighters, three police officers and 17 civilians were treated for exposure to the substance as a precaution. Frontenac Paramedics also report that three members of their team were treated for exposure.

Kingston General Hospital declared a Code Orange (Mass Casualty Event) late Tuesday afternoon due to the large influx of patients from the collision scene being brought in for treatment. KGH opened a decontamination bay for all those who were exposed to the chemical. Exposure to the fluorosilicic acid could cause irritation to the nose, throat, respiratory system, irritation, redness or swelling of the skin and severe eye irritation.

The hospital reports that it treated 29 patients in total as a result of the accident, 13 of whom were emergency services first responders who underwent decontamination and were held for observation as a precaution. The Code Orange was declared over at 8 p.m. KGH says their emergency department returned to business as usual operations at that time. The hospital began to discharge some patients involved in the 401 pile-up Tuesday night.

If you believe a family member or loved one may be at KGH as a result of the accident, please call the hotline at 613-549-6666 ext. 4704 for info.

The Ministry of the Environment has been notified and clean-up crews have arrived on site to remediate the area from the chemical spill.

Highway 401 will remain closed indefinitely in both directions between Mallorytown and Lansdowne.

A Wednesday morning news release from the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands said that response crews at the scene of the chemical spill were hampered by the winter storm, which continued overnight. Daylight will offer opportunity for a full reassessment and continued action.

“The Emergency Response Action Plan has been reviewed by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change as well as Hazmat officials and its implementation will be monitored through the day based on current situational analysis” said Mayor Joe Baptista in a press release. “Once again we reinforce that there is no immediate danger to the public and that the site is contained.”

Residents and travellers are encouraged to avoid the area and allow additional travel time to suit weather conditions and detour routes.

More information will be updated as it becomes available.

*Amended from an earlier estimation of 14,000 litres

http://www.kingstonregion.com/news-story/7189833-one-dead-after-multiple-transport-collision-chemical-spill-on-highway-401/