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Area evacuated due to chemical spill; crews on scene

By Pat Reavy | Posted - Jun. 30, 2013 at 10:22 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City fire and haz-mat crews were involved in a tense situation Sunday night with an unstable chemical that had the potential to explode.

As of 10 p.m., a team was being assembled to go inside the building where the chemical was leaking and take pictures before officials figured out their next move of how to dispose of the dangerous items.

The incident began just after 9:30 a.m., when Salt Lake City fire crews were called to a small fire at Quality Distribution Inc., 421 N. John Glenn Road (6070 West). The fire was extinguished quickly, but as an investigator was going through the building a few hours later, he found that Trigonox was leaking.

By 6 p.m., a full assignment was recalled to the warehouse as well as additional help from other agencies including the U.S. Army and the Salt Lake International Airport.

Salt Lake City fire spokesman Jasen Asay said Trigonox is an organic peroxide that can become unstable at 68 degrees, and when the temperature reaches 77 degree the process cannot be reversed at all and the chemical cannot be stabilized. Because of the earlier fire, the refrigeration in the building was not working, he said. Asay said by Sunday night, the temperature of the chemical had surpassed 77 degrees.

For the chemical to explode, it needs to be triggered by a "shock," Asay said. That could be just static electricity or even a piece of metal falling to the floor and creating a small spark.

Approximately 2,400 gallons of Trigonox are believed to be stored in the building in five gallon drums. Asay said five of those drums were believed to be leaking Sunday.

A 2,000 foot radius around Quality Distribution was evacuated Sunday night. Asay said crews were still trying to determine if the Trigonox was the cause of the earlier fire, or the leak was the result of the fire happening first.

By 7:30 p.m., crews sprayed cold water on the roof of the building in an attempt to keep it cool.

As of 8 p.m. crews were still working on a plan to move the barrels. They were also trying to determine what other chemicals were being stored in the building.

On its website, Quality Distribution described itself as "a customized public warehouse and distribution business and is one of the largest service providers of storage/distribution/and delivery in the Intermountain West." The company deals with hazardous materials and chemicals, among other products, regularly.

Video contributing: Devon Dolan

Photos

Pat Reavy

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