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Acid Spill Snarls Traffic in Kansas City

A tanker truck carrying hydrochloric acid flipped Monday morning, spilling some of its load and sending a cloud of hazardous gas blowing into the air. The accident snarled rush hour traffic on a major artery into downtown Kansas City.

The tanker, which was carrying an estimated 45,000 pounds of hydrochloric acid as it traveled on Interstate 35, ruptured and sent gas blowing to the east. The city opened its Emergency Operations Center.

Kansas City Fire Department Chief Smokey Dyer said about 250 gallons of the acid spilled from the tanker, reports CBS affiliate KCTV in Kansas City.

The cloud mainly threatened the nearby Isle of Capri casino. It was not evacuated, but those inside were asked to stay inside until the cloud dispersed. Dyer said one person from the casino was transported to an area hospital with respiratory issues. The casino has since reopened for business.

Battalion Chief Joe Vitale said the accident shut down traffic in both directions.

The truck driver was taken to an area hospital with injuries and two police officers were taken to a hospital after complaining of skin and throat irritation.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources said about 250 pounds of acid leaked out before the spill was contained and none had gotten into the nearby Missouri River. The remaining acid was to be transferred to another tanker, which would take several hours.

Watch local video from CBS affiliate KCTV
More local video from CBS affiliate KCTV

It said the company, Dallas-based Occidental Chemical Corp., had hired an environmental contractor to help with the cleanup.

Dyer said the trucking company will bring in a crew to tow away the tractor-trailer, but that effort may be slow to isolate any further spills of acid.

Dyer said the scene is no longer considered an emergency scene since crews have done air testing and other tests and no further danger is expected from the spill. Dyer did say anyone who is experiencing any respiratory issues from being near the leak should seek medical attention.

The main spill came from a hose that was ripped from the tanker when the truck overturned, Dyer said. c

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