A semi-tanker truck carrying a load of hydrogen peroxide rolled over on a highway onramp in Parksville, shutting down a stretch of the route for more than a day.
The rollover crash happened at around 4 p.m. Thursday while the truck was turning from Highway 19A onto the northbound onramp at Highway 19.
After the driver escaped the truck unharmed, firefighters from Parksville Fire Rescue responded and extinguished a small blaze that ignited on the road as a result of the crash.
A “minor” amount of hydrogen peroxide spilled onto the roadway prompting a careful response, according to Parksville Fire.
Crews monitored the truck’s trailer with thermal devices to make sure the hydrogen peroxide didn’t get too hot, and using water to intermittently cool it when necessary.
“Hydrogen peroxide quickly decomposes into water and oxygen and there was no serious and immediate threat to human life during the incident,” said the fire department in a release. “Hydrogen peroxide can produce flame under certain circumstances if high concentrations are exposed to flammable materials.”
A Hazmat team called in from the Lower Mainland arrived overnight to help contain and clean up the spilled chemical so that the truck could be recovered and removed.
The Canadian Transport Emergency Centre as well as the B.C. Ministry of Environment are working with Parksville Fire Rescue, as is the product shipper and owner, to mitigate the hazard.
No time estimate is available as to when the work may be completed. Highway 19 was open in both directions as of 4:30 p.m. Friday, but Highway 19A was expected to remain closed from Herring Gull Way to Kay Road, as well as the northbound off and on ramps, until at least Friday night.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, said police.