OSHKOSH - Some tense moments for folks in an Oshkosh neighborhood Friday.. Hundreds of gallons of a form of hydrochloric acid spilled at an area chemical plant.
The spill triggered mass, voluntary evacuations from homes and businesses on the south east side of town. Hundreds were displaced for about three hours this afternoon as firefighters helped contain and eventually clean up the potentially dangerous chemical.
The spill happened at Hydrite Chemical on West 28th Avenue near Oregon Street just east of Wittman Field. Roads were closed and homes and businesses were evacuated in an area from 28th south to Waukau Avenue and then from Perimeter Road on the West to Bradley Street on the east.
For some Oshkosh residents, the sight of police evacuating their neighbors and blocking off Oregon Street was not a welcome one Friday afternoon.
"It just freaked me right out, I'm thinking, 'i'll stop right here,' and they told me to move on," said Dennis.
Oshkosh police moved people along, because 600 gallons of muriatic acid spilled at Hydrite Chemical. The acid can be very dangerous if you come in close contact with it or inhale it.
John Holland with the Oshkosh Fire Department said fortunately no one was hurt. He told FOX 11 the spill happened in a faulty 7,000 gallon tank.
"The tank cracked, the tank failed," remarked Holland.
According to Holland the spilled acid didn't get far.
"Was all contained in a berm or a dyke that is around the tanks that is put in there just for such an occurrence," Holland explained.
Holland told us firefighters and Hydrite Chemical worked together to clean up the spill. It took about three hours to ensure there was no harmful vapors in the air and that it was safe for people to go back home.
'We were very lucky. Things went very well," Holland said of the cleanup.
We tried to get in touch with Hydrite to ask them about cleanup, but they did not return our call.
Holland told us the fire department works with Hydrite to ensure their tanks are safe annually, but he went on to say accidents like this have happened before.
"There have been spills in the past, however, they have an impeccable safety record as well," said Holland.
Neighbor John Mueller told us the spill is a concern, but he won't lose sleep over it.
"Well, you never know, so you have to take it as it comes, you know? I'm not gonna move because Hydrite is in my backyard," said Mueller.
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