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Truck carrying radioactive material crashes, catches fire


June 14, 2010 at 1:14 a.m.

A truck carrying radiological equipment crashed and caught on fire on U.S. Highway 77 S. near Farm-to-Market Road 239 Monday morning causing the freeway to be closed.

A pickup carrying radioactive material crashed and caught fire on U.S. Highway 77 South just north of Farm-to-Market Road 239 early Monday morning.

The pickup crashed with another truck, which carried a crane. No one was injured.

The truck fire was contained to the engine area, but a hazardous material unit from DuPont was called out to conduct radiation tests. The tests were negative, according to a press release from the Victoria County Sheriff's Office.

Witness Mark Vossler, of Corpus Christi, reached the scene about 6:30 a.m. on his way to Houston and described seeing a "fireball."

"What I saw was a big cloud of smoke in front of me," he said in a phone interview. "I thought it was a train, and by the time I pulled up, it was all in flames."

The truck, owned by PetroChem Inspection Services in Corpus Christi, carried an X-ray machine used in oil fields and chemical plants. It was carrying radium 192, said Victoria Fire Department Battalion Chief Roger Hempel, but none of the material escaped the truck.

The Victoria and Refugio County sheriff's offices, Victoria and Refugio fire departments, Texas Departments of Public Safety and Transportation responded to the scene.



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