Hydrochloric acid leak at the RAC leads to chemical emergency call

Kyle Clark and Kristen Siciliano

STATESBORO — A chemical emergency was reported on the Georgia Southern campus Thursday morning after hydrochloric acid was spilled near the RAC and MC Anderson. 

Statesboro Police and Fire controlled the chemical spill and students were advised to avoid the area until further notice. The chemical emergency is active for the next nine hours. 

According to Fire Chief Timothy Grams, the fire department received a call about potential hazardous materials at the RAC. On duty units were sent out and they discovered a box truck with vapors pouring from the back.

“We sent a recon team down and did confirm that there was hydrochloric acid and that there had been a leak of some sort,” Grams said. 

The fire department, after sending for a hazard response team, then proceeded to neutralize the acid according to their protocols. 

The team neutralized and tested the residue, and once it was confirmed to have been neutralized, cleanup was able to begin. 

According to Fire Marshall Darrell Colson, the leakage was not from a rupture. Instead one of the barrels had a small pinhole in it, while others had leakage around where the barrel was meant to be held. 

The truck itself was a GS truck, one that regularly delivers materials to the RAC. At this time it is unclear why the leakage occurred in these specific barrels. 

GS will be taking this incident into account in the future when handling the transport of such materials. 

“One of the things we always do is inspect materials before they’re put on transport,” Jennifer Wise, Georgia Southern Director of Communications, said. “I think that those inspections will continue to evolve to ensure that something like this, now that we know it’s a possibility, can’t happen.”

Sarah Smith and Nathan Woodruff contributed to the reporting in this article

Kyle Clark, The George-Anne Daily Managing Editor, gaeditor@georgiasouthern.edu

Kristen Siciliano, The George-Anne Contributor, gaeditor@georgiasouthern.edu