Fort Myers New Press

Liquid chlorine leak forces three-hour closure of Alico Road

By DENES HUSTY III
DHUSTY@NEWS-PRESS.COM
Published by news-press.com on June 29, 2005

A leaking tank with 2,000 pounds of liquid chlorine gas on the back of a flatbed truck prompted emergency officials to shut down part of Alico Road south of Fort Myers for nearly three hours on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.

There were no injuries, but traffic was backed up and businesses along the road were evacuated.

The section of Alico Road from Three Oaks Parkway east to Lee Road was shut down after the truck driver from Allied Chemical in Miami turned off Interstate 75 and smelled chlorine fumes, said Ray Delo, assistant fire chief with the San Carlos Park Fire Department.

The driver, Edvardo Perdomo of Hialeah, was on his way to deliver the tank to a swimming pool business in the area, Delo said.

The sheriff's office received a call about the gas leak at 1:31 p.m.

The road in the immediate area was shut down shortly after, Delo said. It was reopened around 4:30 p.m.

Delo said about 35 firefighters from his department and a hazardous materials team from the Fort Myers Fire Department were sent to the scene.

The minor leak was coming from a pressure valve, Delo said.

Members of the hazardous materials team sealed off the leak and the truck was sent back to Miami, Delo said.

Perdomo was not injured because the fumes he smelled were minor, the assistant fire chief said.

Chlorine ó used to treat water in pools and sometimes used to treat drinking water ó can be deadly if the fumes are inhaled, Delo said.

Also, the gas is highly corrosive, he said.

The chemical company will probably be billed for the expense of calling out the hazardous materials team, Delo said.

The traffic jam resulting from the leak snared dump truck driver Osvaldo Olivera, who said he and other drivers who make daily runs along Alico Road were affected by the traffic.

Jessica Llado, a clerk at the Site gas station at Alico Road and Lee Road, was working during the incident. The gas station did not have to be evacuated.

"Business was extremely slow. It's usually pretty steady around this time," she said