On Tuesday, May 31, 2005, shortly after 9am, the Hazardous Materials Team from Union Colony Fire Rescue in Greeley was called to assist the Platte Valley Fire Protection District with an overturned tanker truck about 5 miles northeast of Kersey, Colorado.
Platte Valley had arrived at the scene shortly after 8am to find the driver had been removed from the crashed truck by bystanders. They provided initial medical treatment and Weld County Paramedic Services transported him to North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley.
Platte Valley then recognized that the truck was venting a gas substance, which was later determined to be nitrogen gas.
Hazmat Technicians from Union Colony Fire Rescue determined that the truck was carrying the nitrogen gas in a cryogenic state. Nitrogen gas is nonflammable and relatively harmless to humans and the environment. When it converts from the cryogenic state into ambient air, there is a vapor cloud. There is a slight risk to humans in a vapor cloud in that it will occlude the oxygen, thus creating a suffocation risk. This can be seen in the attached photos. Union Colony Fire Rescue and Colorado State Patrol then worked together to formulate a plan to mitigate the situation.
After consulting with the Weld County Health Department Environmental Division, it was decided to vent as much product (nitrogen gas) as possible, prior to wreckers returning the truck back to it