The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

June 17, 2014

Danger contained

OTTUMWA — A hazardous fluid spill on the roundabout connecting Highways 63 and 34 in Ottumwa was quickly contained.

Ottumwa Fire Chief Tony Miller said a tanker truck with a full 7,800-gallon load of methanol overturned on the circular road connector around 7 a.m. Tuesday. The tank was punctured by the crash and began leaking the toxic, flammable liquid.

The Ottumwa Fire Department Haz-Mat team sprayed foam to keep the vapors down while work crews piled sand to trap the alcohol product.

"Public Works did a great job for us," Miller said. "They built a dike to keep the methanol from [flowing away from the scene] and entering the [environment]."

Methanol is a toxic, flammable industrial liquid used in certain varnishes, in anti-freeze and as a fuel for some super-high performance vehicles, like dragsters. The methanol was shipped from Cargill in Eddyville.

Traffic at the roundabout was detoured all morning as Haz-Mat worked. The roundabout was opened again after the lunch rush.

"We had to drill through the tank," the chief said. The highly volatile fluid had to be pumped into a new tanker truck. "Because of the way the [rolled] truck was laying, we couldn't get [the methanol] out any other way. We've also grounded it [against electrical sparks]."

He said he was proud of his crew and the other agencies that helped the work move so quickly and safely.

"This isn't our first rodeo," he said of the Haz-Mat operation. "We've had a few of these."

In fact, three truck rollovers have required firefighters at that same spot. Others, however, were not quite as dangerous as a full tanker of methanol, the fire chief acknowledged.

The county emergency management coordinator was there, as were Ottumwa Police Department and Wapello County Sheriff Office personnel. Iowa DOT and Iowa State Patrol were on their way to assist, Miller said.

"And we have Wapello County [rural fire department] here in case things go south," Miller said Tuesday morning. "It's been a collaborative effort by many agencies."

— You can follow reporter Mark Newman on Twitter @couriermark.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0724 OTT car investigation color photo -L Tip led to Tuesday arrest OTTUMWA — There was more to the incident Tuesday in which officers surrounded a car near U.S. Bank in downtown Ottumwa than just a routine traffic stop. Police Chief Tom McAndrew said Jason Tobek, 36, is in custody and faces charges of interference w

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prosecution: All evidence points to Techel as killer DAVENPORT — Just as all roads lead to Rome, so all evidence points to a Wapello County man accused of killing his wife, according to the prosecution. Assistant Attorney General Andrew Prosser, who is prosecuting the case for the third time, said defe

    July 23, 2014

  • Eldon man gets five year prison term KEOSAUQUA — An Eldon man was sentenced to five years in prison in Van Buren District Court for his role in an October 2012 altercation in Selma, which escalated into shots being fired into the home or Randall Ritz, 11883 Bridge St., Selma. Donald E.

    July 23, 2014

  • Emergency council meeting Friday OTTUMWA — Ottumwa’s City Council will meet for a second time this week, this time to discuss an emergency problem at the city’s Water Pollution Control Facility. The special meeting will be conducted at 1 p.m. Friday in the council chambers. Earlier

    July 23, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Seth Techel mugshot -T Techel jury may begin deliberations Wednesday

    DAVENPORT — The jury in the third trial of a Wapello County man accused of murdering his wife may begin deliberations as early as Wednesday in Scott County, Davenport. The jury was excused mid-afternoon Tuesday while Judge Daniel Wilson, who continue

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0723 OTT Riverfront color photo -L -M Ideas flow at Riverfront Renaissance workshop OTTUMWA — Ideas flowed as freely as the river itself Tuesday evening as more than 100 Ottumwans shared their vision of what the riverfront can be.The Riverfront Renaissance design charrette, sponsored by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, drew p

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kids … not cash OTTUMWA — From a project that started with nothing, supporters created a top-notch education facility for at-risk youth. Someone in on the project from the beginning shared the story. Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker addressed a community advis

    July 22, 2014

  • Staying healthy during extreme heat OTTUMWA — After unusually cool temperatures last week, it may have been easy to forget how the heat of summer feels, but an incoming heat wave will quickly remind you. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat is the No.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shooting ruled homicide OTTUMWA — The death of a man shot in Wapello County has been ruled a homicide. The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office on Monday received a 911 call of a shooting 4 miles southwest of Ottumwa. Deputies discovered Clinton Gus Leedom, 49, of Bloomfield, to

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT flood file photo Over $1 million to fight floods EDDYVILLE — It's not the way a town wants to get $1 million, but the damage suffered by Eddyville in recent floods has prompted the federal government to cut a check. Actually, it's Area 15 Regional Planning Commission, a community assistance agency

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints