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Radioactive Scare Shuts Down Haymarket Station

BOSTON (CBS) - A radiation scare shut down Haymarket MBTA station to passengers Tuesday morning.

According to the Boston Fire Department, the Boston Police Truck Team had stopped a 20-foot-long box truck after spotting it in an area where it was not allowed.

Boston Police Sgt. Joseph McNiff says officers immediately realized that the truck was out of place.

"We were unaware of any permitted radioactive material that would be in the city today," McNiff said.

Initial tests outside the vehicle showed higher-than-normal levels of radiation, indicating a possible leak.

As a precaution, Haymarket station was temporarily closed to passengers.

Hazardous material technicians responded, and further testing did register low levels of radiation.

The vehicle, which was carrying material used in portable x-rays for construction inspections, was equipped to carry radioactive material and had a radiation placard on the side.

However, trucks carrying radioactive material are not allowed to travel on city streets unless they are picking up or dropping off those materials within city limits.

"The vehicle was transporting radioactive material for shipment, which is common and it's within the approved levels of radiation. It's just that the route they were taking had not been pre-approved," Boston Fire District Chief Michael Feely told WBZ-TV.

Boston Transportation Commissioner Tom Tinlin says the truck received a police escort out of the city and the truck company was hit with a fine.

"The truck will be cited and the company will be expected to reimburse the Boston fire department and the Boston police department," said Tinlin.

Tinlin and Boston Mayor Tom Menino both call the driver's detour through the city a flagrant disregard for public safety.

"It's a selfish decision on behalf of the driver. It's a selfish decision on the part of the company," Tinlin said.

WBZ-TV's Paul Burton reports

Tinlin says Tuesday's incident is another perfect example of why the city has proposed to reroute trucks carrying hazardous material.

The new route, if approved, would require vehicles driving past Boston from Quincy to loop around the city on Route 128.

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