NEW INFO: Highway 70 Reopens After Haz-Mat Spill

A heavily traveled highway here in Eastern Carolina is open once again after being shut down because of a haz-mat threat.

Authorities say the wreck happened in a work zone on Highway 70 outside of Newport, near Gramercy Christian School.

Check out the photos in the slideshow at top of story

They tell us a medical transport vehicle overturned and several tanks of liquid oxygen began leaking. That concentrated liquid form of oxygen has a potential for an explosion when it comes in contact with a petroleum-based product, such as a highway.

A Cherry Point haz-mat crew sprayed down the highway and van with water to keep them cool until the oxygen dissipated.

Two people were injured in the crash, but their injuries were not believed to be serious.

The Realo transport van had no patients on board and another vehicle was involved in the accident.

State Trooper Joe Tucker was patrolling the work zone from the shoulder of the road. He saw it all through his rearview mirror. "I saw a blue truck swerve to the right and at that time struck a white van. It forced the van to the left and caused the van to roll over on its right side," Trooper Tucker told WITN.


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  • by Joe Location: Newport on Jul 30, 2009 at 04:17 PM
    The earlier post is correct about the weight of liquid oxygen being transported. If under the 1001 lbs, then no "Oxygen On Board" of any kind is needed. The liquid reservoirs have venting valves on them so the tank itself vents when pressures builds due to temperature and such and when turned on their sides such as in this wreck, the tank begins to purge and liquid oxygen can be released. I'm sure the emergency response was taken the necessary means to contain the situation in the process of turning the van back over. Transport of oxygen is relatively safe, liquid or compressed air tanks. Compressed air tanks are designed very secure and are only dangerous when punctured. Seems to be just an accident that happen to involve a vehicle carrying oxygen.
  • by TOPEGGY Location: NEW BERN on Jul 30, 2009 at 02:06 PM
    you know you can be charged for that why wouldnt you stop
  • by Nicola Location: Kinston on Jul 30, 2009 at 01:36 PM
    All of us that work with the driver of the O2 truck wish him & any others involved speedy recovery. Glad you are ok, Twon.
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on Jul 30, 2009 at 01:17 PM
    If the tanks of oxygen began leaking just from the van overturning, then they must not have had the safety caps on them covering the valves.I may be mistaken, but I would think that this was just tanks of compressed oxygen, and not liquid oxygen. All liquid oxygen that I have ever seen was in a refrigerated tank and had to be kept very cold, like -183 degrees F.I might be wrong, but still compressed oxygen can be dangerous also.I have always been told that if a cylinder falls over without the safety cap and the valve somehow breaks off, that the whole cylinder will take off like a rocket and go right through a brick wall.
  • by peggy Johnson Location: new bern on Jul 30, 2009 at 11:55 AM
    I was a witness at rt 70....a paint truck with boat was involved in the accident. Got there while wheels were still running and transport was smoking....no one hurt I am pretty sure...we kept going....coming back 9 mile road is a mess in and out of Havelock too.
  • by MSgt, USMC(Ret) Location: Kinston on Jul 30, 2009 at 11:41 AM
    ??, oxygen is made liquid by compressing and cooling many times. kk, I am a hazmat licensed driver, and liquid oxygen is a 'Table 2' substance, which only has to be placarded if more than 1,001 pounds of the substance (with container) are carried. That would be a lot of liquid oxygen, and I doubt a transport vehicle would carry anywhere close to that amount.
  • by ?? on Jul 30, 2009 at 10:41 AM
    how is oxygen liquid? what did they do to it to make it liquid?
  • by kk Location: newport on Jul 30, 2009 at 10:37 AM
    why didnt that van have any hazmat placards on it...i seen the van with my own two eyes and it isnt marked as carrying hazardous substances
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