Crashed tanker truck near I-10 in East Bexar County temporarily sparks fears of dangerous chemical spill

Truck found to be carrying non-hazardous liquid sulfur, firefighters say

SAN ANTONIO – A tanker truck that crashed near I-10 in East Bexar County temporarily had fire crews fearing they were dealing with a dangerous chemical spill.

Bexar County Emergency Services District #12 first responded to the incident before 8 a.m. Thursday, along the westbound I-10 access road at FM 1518.

RELATED: Tanker truck crashes into concrete barrier along Interstate 10 in East Bexar County

They later called in help from the Schertz Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials team.

“There were no placards on the trailer when our first units arrived, so we took our precautions,” said Assistant Fire Chief Lawrence Padalecki, Jr., with Bexar County ESD 12.

Padalecki says fire crews, initially, had no idea what it was that seemed to be leaking from the tanker.

Firefighters donned protective masks as they got a close-up look.

He said the crash was the result of the truck driver making a common mistake while behind the wheel.

“Basically, he was making the turn and didn’t go wide enough, and it climbed up onto the jersey wall,” Padalecki said.

The back portion of the truck landed on a valve that normally would be used to empty the contents from the tanker.

Padalecki said that caused a small leak which stopped when a safety valve quickly sealed it off.

“Currently there is no leak to the tank,” he said. “It was carrying watered-down sulfur, approximately 24 tons of it.”

Fire crews later determined the liquid was not hazardous, Padalecki said.

Because of the position of the truck, the access road had to remain closed indefinitely.

Padalecki said crews will have to offload the liquid from the tank before they can remove the truck from the roadway.

The crash caused a traffic backup in the area, particularly along FM 1518. It did not affect traffic on the main lanes of I-10.

Still, Padalecki advised drivers to avoid the area if possible.

About the Authors:

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Santiago Esparza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.