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I-26 between Kingsport and Johnson City reopens following chemical leak; several motorists taken to hospital

Timesnews.net staff report • Apr 25, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Kingsport firemen wash down a car contaminated by a chemical leak on I-26 this morning. David Grace photo.


Interstate 26 has reopened after police closed the highway mid-morning at the Rock Springs and Eastern Star exits after several cannisters of sulfur dioxide in a white truck began leaking.

Early reports are sketchy, but several people were treated along the side of the road, and others have been taken to the hospital after they were exposed to chemicals and complained that they were having trouble breathing.

It is not clear if a minor accident caused the wreck, but three vehicles have reportedly been contaminated.

A doctor from the Health Department was dispatched to the police command post shortly after 10 a.m.

According to Wikipedia, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is an important gas is the main product from the combustion of sulfur compounds and is of significant environmental concern. It is often described as the "smell of burning sulfur."

Sulphur dioxide is produced by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum contain various amounts of sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide. Further oxidation of SO2, usually in the presence of a catalyst such as NO2, forms H2SO4, and thus acid rain.

This story will be updated as details become available.

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