Chemical spill temporarily disrupts Gypsum businesses |

Chemical spill temporarily disrupts Gypsum businesses

Derek Franz
Eagle Valley Enterprise
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Derek Franz/

GYPSUM, Colorado – Emergency cleanup crews responded to the Highway 6 Store in Gypsum around 11 a.m. Thursday after a semi-truck driver noticed some of his hazardous cargo was leaking.

The Highway 6 Store is a Shell gas station located near the Interstate 70 interchange.

A drum of acetonitrile – which is sometimes used as a paint-thinner or cleaning product and can be highly flammable – spilled in the back of a FedEx truck.

“I saw a leak and did what I was supposed to do,” the driver said before declining further comment.

The gas station, the Gypsum Grill and a liquor store were evacuated while crews handled the mess.

“Acetonitrile tends to collect, so the wind (was) a good thing,” said Gypsum Fire Protection District Chief Dave Vroman.

Without a breeze to disperse the fumes, the situation could have become highly explosive.

“Nothing happened and that’s a good thing,” Vroman said.

The Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Eagle County Airport Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office and Gypsum Public Works also responded. FedEx had its hazmat crew, Belfor Environmental Services, take over responsibility for the cleanup.

Firemen wearing oxygen masks started the cleanup before Belfor Environmental arrived around 1 p.m. and The Highway 6 Store was reopened by 2 p.m.

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