Interstate 20 in Pearl re-opened - - Jackson, MS

Interstate 20 in Pearl re-opened

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PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Officials in Rankin County announced shortly after 4 Tuesday morning that Interstate 20 in Pearl is back open following Monday night's spill of hazardous chemicals. Pearl Police Lieutenant Butch Townsend said that the highway is open but clean-up will continue throughout the morning.

A portion of I-20 in Pearl was shutdown after several hundred gallons of hydrochloric acid were spilled inside a company at Becknell Drive and Childre Road.

Two businesses were evacuated and road closures were ordered Monday night in Pearl.

A staging area of emergency responders was set up by Rankin County Emergency Operations at I-20 and Pearson Road at the Texaco station.

Townsend said around 7:20 p.m. hundreds of gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled inside R and L Trucking Lines located on Becknell Drive.

Police closed the interstate from Pearson Road to Highway 49.

Officials said the Bass Pro Shop and Sam's were evacuated because they are across from the trucking company.

Townsend said no homes were evacuated, and there are no reported injuries.

Hydrochloric acid can have a corrosive effect on human tissue and can cause respiratory damage.

"Warehouse workers were attempting to load a large container of some five or six hundred gallon container of hydrochloric acid. that container fell of the forklift and we have somewhere between 250 to 500 gallons spilled out of that. That is hydrochloric acid. I guess I could equate that best to drain cleaner. If you've ever used drain cleaner you've probably experienced the fumes of that. That's what we have here," said Lt. Townsend.

Pearl Mayor Brad Rogers said concern arose when a chemical cloud exited the building, but the spill was contained to the facility and no residents were affected.

The Department of Environmental Quality was on scene overseeing the cleanup which will continue this morning. 

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