Crews rushing to roundabout near O’Leary; area closed to public
O’LEARY – Hazardous material crews are rushing to the scene of an overturned transport truck carrying ammonium nitrate near O’Leary.
A transport truck carrying ammonia nitrate overturned late Thursday morning, close to the roundabout near O’Leary. Emergency crews are at the scene and have evacuated an area of about 500 metres from the overturned truck. This photo was captured by Darren MacLeod who passed by shortly after the accident occurred.
The truck rolled on its side at the O'Leary roundabout, at around 11:30 Thursday morning.
RCMP said there were no injuries and only the truck is involved. Maritime Electric has shut off power to an area of western Prince County as a precaution and the O’Leary Fire Department has responded to the scene.
The Mounties and provincial transportation officials have set up a perimeter of about 500 metres and are diverting traffic around the scene on Highway 2, the main route between Summerside and western Prince County.
Eugene Paugh, a resident of the Woodstock area, whose home is about 600 metres from the accident, said fire trucks from Alberton, which was also called to the scene, returned to Alberton. He added no one has been to his home to warn him of any potential danger.
A Tim Hortons in the area has been evacuated.
RCMP Sgt. Andrew Blackadar confirmed there has been a spill.
“There was a spill of some diesel fuel on impact,” Blackadar said. “As a result of that, because that may have mixed with the ammonium nitrate, which is a granular form of fertilizer, the fire department and police have put a half-kilometre evacuation radius around the traffic circle.
“I’m not sure if there are any houses in that area. I don’t think there are.”
Blackadar did say a Tim Hortons restaurant near the scene was evacuated.
“We’re waiting for hazardous material (crews) from the fire department to make sure that everything is stable,” he said. “From that they’re going to determine if they just right the truck there or whether they have to offload the ammonia nitrate into another truck.”
An emergency official, who wished to remain anonymous, as he was not authorized to speak about the situation, said the worst-case scenario would be the ammonium nitrate coming in contact with diesel fuel from the truck. If that happened and there were a spark, an explosion could occur.
However, a spokesperson on the scene said they were not aware of any diesel mixing with the ammonium nitrate.
As a precaution, RCMP shut down the intersection of Route 2 and 14 in Coleman Corner and Route 2 and 143 at Howlan Road. No vehicles will be allowed through these intersections.
The road closures will remain in effect for the foreseeable future until the vehicle carrying the ammonia nitrate can be inspected and declared safe.
It is believed the ammonia nitrate, used as a fertilizer, was headed to a plant in nearby Bloomfield.