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Accident near Albamarle more of a scare than an emergency

Emergency response teams responded to an accident across from the Albemarle Chemical Plant at approximately 10 p.m. last evening.
A tanker truck hauling ethyl benzene was preparing to drop off a load at the plant. He cut a corner too sharp and clipped an electric pole which contained high voltage wires, according to Hookies Fire Company Chief Bob Lynn.
“The truck was pulling into the lot across from the plant to sit for the night and off load during daylight hours,” said Ivan Riggle, site complience manager of Albemarle. “The truck cut the corner too sharp and struck an electric pole that took out electricity to some of the homes in the area. The staff of Albamarle had a empty tanker truck at the plant and assisted in the off loading of the ethyl benzene.”
Emergency response teams from Bald Eagle, Hookies, Citizens, Neptunes, Tipton-Antis and Warriors Mark and the Emergency Response Team from the Altoona Fire Department responded.
“The side of the truck was damaged,” said Lynn. “We responded around 10 p.m. and left the scene around 5 a.m. Bellwood Fire Company was on standby.”
Riggle was impressed with the quick and professonal response to the accident.
“I was very pleased with the response of the HazMat and the volunteer fire companies,” said Riggle. “They were very professional and made sure that this accident was minor and didn’t get out of control.”
Altoona Fire Chief Rene Santone said the right steps were taken in response to last night’s accident.
“The Tyrone Fire Department with chief Jim Beckwith did an excellent job,” said Santone. “They took a lot of precautionary moves that you need to take when you are dealing with a highly explosive and highly flammable liquid. There were 5,100 gallons of ethyl benzene. The outer tank was breeched and you couldn’t see the inner tank. Everyone had breathing aparatus’ on and we took every pre-caution necessary. You treat everything in the worst possible senario. we had great cooperation from the plant in transferring the load to another tanker. DEP was on scene and the Salvation Army was on hand to provide refreshments during the long night.”
Santone said training helped everyone be prepared for the response last night.
“We’ve always had good cooperation with the plant and the Tyrone Fire Department when the HazMat team has to come down,” said Santone. “We have spent many hours training with the people at Albemarle and the Tyrone Fire Department. Nobody wants an accident, but you prepare for any possible accident there is. The training helps keep situations like last night as minor and them from becoming large and dangerous situations.”
Penelec was replacing the light poles at press time.