San José Fire controls major hazardous materials incident

Businesses were evacuated and roads closed after units of the San José Fire Department responded to a report of one of two 10-gallon pressurized tanks offgassing at a local California Department of Transportation yard at 500 Queens Lane near Old Bayshore Highway at approximately 3:33 PM on Wednesday, April 12, 2006.

The two tanks, now believed to contain hydrochloric acid, were picked up by a Caltrans crew on the side of Interstate 280 in the vicinity of northbound Race Street near downtown San Jose. The crew transported the tanks to a Caltrans yard and called 911 when they realized that one of the tanks was emitting a vapor.

According to San José Fire Captain Jose Guerrero one San José Police officer was transported to a local hospital for observation after complaining of a scratchy throat and respiratory difficulties.

It is believed that the tanks contained highly toxic chemicals that were byproducts resulting from methamphetamine production. The immediate goal of firefighters was to mitigate any threat posed by the gas being produced from the containers, which required the evacuation or sheltering in place of approximately 30 businesses in the general area.

Units working this incident included Hazardous Incident Team 29, Engine 5, USAR 5, Light Unit 5, Engine 29, Truck 29, Engine 1, EMS Field Coordinator Med 30, Battalion 1 (Incident Commander-Conanat), Battalion 29 (Safety-Croyle) and Battalion 10 (Operations-Schuller).

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