OKC Hazmat Crews Busy With Hazardous Spills

Thursday, February 27th 2014, 8:01 pm
By: News 9

We see a variety of situations on the roadways every day. A majority of those situations is car accidents, but some are spills. On Wednesday we saw gas, even syrup spill onto the streets. And with each spill, hazmat teams stay busy.

Authorities are calling it just one of those spurts. For a while, not many accidents or spills occurred. But right now that's not the case.

"It's a load securement issue and that company would be liable," said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Brian Orr.

If the substance or material came off the vehicle, that's who's responsible.

"Any spill is dangerous, you need to use caution," said Orr.

Orr knows some spills can be more dangerous than others.

"The more potent it is the more our guard is up," said Orr.

And that guard is Oklahoma City's hazmat team.

"It's a different animal than going in and fighting a structure fire," said Maj. Clint Greenwood.

2/27/2014 Related Story: OKC Man Says Sugar From Tanker Spill Is Stuck All Over His Vehicle

The only hazmat team in city limits stays active, responding to 20-30 calls a month. As for just hazardous material spills on roadways, OHP calculated 40 in 2012 alone.

"We brainstorm as we're going the road start our game plan," said Greenwood.

Even though hazmat teams are known for suits like this, they actually look for ways not to use them. Especially on spills which have become routine.

"Fuel spills and natural gas spills, those are pretty easy cause we see those a lot," said Greenwood.

But for an unknown substance crews must first clear the area, and the 10 on shift for hazmat checks the air, run the non-battery operated tests, and double check the computer before calling in the clean-up team.

"There some stages we will take to figure it out," said Greenwood. "They're recognizing through the training and this isn't your run of the mill incident. We try to look at things at different angles before we just go and jump in there."

Each hazmat member must take a two week, 89 hour training program along with a college chemistry course.

2/26/2013 Related Story: Tanker Spill Syrup Along I-44 In Oklahoma City