Several people were injured on Tuesday after a truck carrying an unstable chemical exploded in a Santa Paula, Calif., neighborhood. The explosion also led to an evacuation of residents and several businesses surrounding the Santa Clara Waste Water Company, where the explosion took place. Three of the victims sent to the hospital due to the Santa Paula explosion were firefighters.
CBS News reported the truck involved in the explosion was carrying 1,000 gallons of organic peroxide, which is unstable. The explosion caused the chemical to spread out, which crystallized and set off several smaller spontaneous explosions within a 300 to 400-foot radius of the initial Santa Paula explosion.
The chemical involved in the explosion reacts to water, so the Ventura County Fire Department allowed the fire to burn itself down rather than cause more problems by spraying it with water. The Santa Clara river is also nearby and chemical runoff could have gotten into the river if the fire had been sprayed with water.
The rig involved in the Santa Paula explosion, which is normally used to suction up industrial waste, burst into flames at the wastewater company around 6:30 in the morning. The scene of the explosion is approximately a mile east of the city of Ventura.
Along with the three VCFD firefighters, an ambulance driver and one of the truck’s occupants were also transported to Ventura County Medical Center. Another man who was in the truck was treated and released at the scene of the explosion. Some of the firefighters were injured when they stepped on the chemical crystals, which caused them to explode beneath their boots.
The New York Daily News also reported that at least 12 VCMC employees in the ER got sick because of exposure to the chemical from the Santa Paula explosion. At the time of the report, the hospital was working to contain the chemical to keep it from threatening the health of other personnel and patients.
Authorities ordered an a mandatory evacuation of those within a mile of where the explosion took place and the Red Cross opened a shelter for the evacuated residents in Santa Paula. Those working or living two to three miles downward of the area were advised to stay inside to avoid exposure to the chemical.
The chemical explosion in Santa Paula came just two days after the Inquisitr reported about four workers being killed due to being exposed to chemical fumes at a DuPont plant near Houston.
[Images via CBS]