A tanker truck hauling nitric acid overturned on an interstate highway near Tucson, Arizona, on Tuesday, causing a leak of its highly toxic, volatile cargo in a fiery wreck that shut down the road for hours, authorities said, APA reports citing Reuters.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety urged residents nearby to remain inside and said first responders were working to evacuate a perimeter around the incident "out of an abundance of caution."
It said state police anticipated an "extensive" closing of Interstate Highway 10 after the "injury collision," which disrupted the major east-west traffic artery and truck route that crosses much of the U.S. Southwest.
The Tucson Fire Department said it was helping "control the hazmat and brush fire incidents" at the crash site. The extent of injuries and whether other vehicles were involved were not explained, nor was the accident's cause or scope of the spill.
Nitric acid, used in the washing of glassware or metal equipment, is a highly corrosive chemical that can cause severe lung damage if inhaled and irritation on contact with the skin and eyes, according to the University of Washington.
The toxic spill comes 11 days after a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed in eastern Ohio, igniting a fire that sent a plume of toxic fumes and smoke over the town of East Palestine and forced thousands of residents to evacuate.