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Hydrochloric Acid Leak at Cargill in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX 28) -- On Sunday morning the Cedar Rapids Fire Department responded to an active hydrochloric acid leak at Cargill, 1710 16th Street SE. 

Firefighters were called at 7:25 a.m. when a truck driver noticed hydrochloric acid leaking out of the semi-trailer as he was off-loading the product on Cargill property.  The tank has approximately 46,000 pounds of hydrochloric acid and the tank appeared to have a hole in the side of it. 

Firefighters with hazardous materials protective gear assessed the leak.  They worked with Cargill plant employees for a strategy to off-load the remaining product from the tank.

As of 6:30 p.m., Sundya evening, the hydrochloric acid leak was contained in a pit on Cargill property and did not affect nearby locations.  However, as a precaution, the Fire Department and Police Department blocked off access to the area, including access points at: 7th Street/Otis Road SE, 10th Street/16th Avenue SE, 16th Street/14th Avenue SE, 17th Street/14th Avenue SE, Van Vechten Park, and the nearby bike trail. 

As of Sunday evening, there were no injuries reported. 

Hydrochloric acid is a clear, colorless solution of hydrogen chloride in water.  It is a highly corrosive and a strong mineral acid with many industrial uses. 

There was an acidic mist that  formed; however, because the acidic cloud was heavier than air it was contained in the pit on Cargill property.

The mist and hydrochloric acid solution has a corrosive effect on human tissue with the potential to damage respiratory organs, eyes, skin, and intestines. 

Approximately a one-half mile area around the Cargill facility was still blocked off as a precaution as of Sunday evening.

 The Linn County Hazardous Materials Team was dispatched to the scene and worked with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department to form entry teams to assess and stop the hydrochloric acid leak.

Four fire engine companies, a ladder truck, rescue truck and hazardous materials vehicle were on scene.

No further information is available at this time.

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