Chemical spill averted in Snowmass | AspenTimes.com

Chemical spill averted in Snowmass

Allyn Harvey

Traffic was blocked in both directions Wednesday afternoon as firefighters responded to a burning truck on Brush Creek Road near the Snowmass Center. (Cleve Johnson)

Snowmass Village firefighters were able to keep hazardous chemicals from spilling into Brush Creek yesterday after truck carrying waterproofing chemicals burst into flames.Nobody was injured in the blaze, which quickly engulfed the truck. The fire occurred at about 2:15 p.m. near the intersection of Wood Road and Brush Creek Road in Snowmass Village.

Witnesses said the truck was turning onto Brush Creek Road when the flames became visible. The driver pulled over to the side of the road directly across from the Conoco station and he and two other workers jumped out.The blaze started in the back of the truck, which had two large chemical containers. It spread forward into the cab, according to Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District Deputy Chief John Mele. Burning fuel and chemicals stoked the flames and melting plastic filled the air with dark smoke.

Mele said the cause of the fire was still under investigation. He couldn’t say whether a leak in the containers and a resulting mix of chemicals that are supposed to be kept separate caused the fire, although it is one possibility under examination. Once firefighters determined that the driver and passengers had escaped safely, Mele said they focused on two tasks: putting the fire out and limiting the environmental damage from the leaking chemicals.

None of the waterproofing chemicals found their way into Brush Creek, Mele said. An environmental cleanup is under way today.”When nobody gets injured and an environmental spill is averted, it’s a good day,” Mele said.Allyn Harvey’s e-mail address is aharvey@aspentimes.com

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