Deadly Acid Spill Forces 5K to Flee

Authorities contain leak of dangerous chemical
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2009 3:04 PM CDT
A tractor trailer carrying hydrofluoric acid sits on its side on Route 33 south near Wind Gap, Pa., on Saturday, March 21, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pocono Record, David Kidwell)
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(Newser) – About 5,000 people were evacuated from their homes in eastern Pennsylvania today after a tractor-trailer carrying 33,000 pounds of acid flipped over along a state highway, CNN reports. The driver, who swerved to avoid a deer, was initially trapped inside the truck, but has been released from hospital. Authorities have contained the leak of the deadly acid.

Hydrogen fluoride is a corrosive, hazardous chemical used mainly for industrial purposes and is an ingredient in aluminum and light bulbs. The acid can cause severe burns, and inhaling it could be fatal, the AP says. Evacuees have gathered at a local high school awaiting word from authorities.