Garfield County Hazmat

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Dec 11, 2002
Residents near Rulison had to be evacuated for more than two hours Tuesday morning after a tanker went off County Road 309 and spilled about 6,000 gallons of liquid nitrogen.

The driver, Ron Wanczyk, 27, of Fruita, was treated for minor injuries after being driven by a private vehicle to the Battlement Mesa Clinic in Parachute, the Colorado State Patrol reported.

The State Patrol was called to the scene at about 9:20 a.m. The agency said Wanczyk failed to negotiate a right-hand turn and the tanker rolled down a slight embankment and overturned.

Dispatchers used reverse 911 to call residents within a half mile of the crash and asked them to evacuate. The evacuation area later was reduced to within 330 feet of the site. At least 10 residents were affected by the evacuation.

All residents were allowed to return to their homes just after noon, after it was determined the liquid nitrogen had dissipated and there would be no harm to humans or animals.

Liquid nitrogen can cause suffocation in contained areas, along with frostbite if it comes in contact with skin.

Wanczyk was driving a truck belonging to Cudd Energy Services' Fruita location. Authorities said he committed a lane violation and he was cited in connection with the crash.

Garfield County Sheriff's deputies, fire crews from Rifle and Parachute, and Parachute police were among other agencies responding to the spill.
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