Columbia County officials are awaiting the arrival of a private chemical cleanup crew to remove an overturned explosives truck on Columbia Road near Appling.
The westbound Southern Blasting Services truck, which had been going from Rinker Material's Dogwood Quarry at 6:13 a.m., was carrying ammonium nitrate and blasting caps, said Columbia County Emergency Management Agency Director Pam Tucker.
The vehicle from the Elberton, Ga., company was headed to the Martin-Marietta quarry in Warrenton when it overturned. The driver lost control as he crested a hill and came upon vehicles stopped to turn into a private driveway near Woodcreek subdivision in Appling, Mrs. Tucker said.
The driver, Rodney Combs, 29, did not appear to have been injured in the crash but has been taken to Prompt Care in Evans for observation, said North Columbia Fire-Rescue Chief Tom McFarland.
Columbia Road is closed to through-traffic with detours set up at the Appling-Harlem Highway and on Louisville Road, and is expected to be closed for several hours while the Columbia County Sheriff's Office and fire personnel await the arrival of a cleanup crew to remove the vehicle and spilled ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel. Chief McFarland said there will be no public access to the area until the site has been cleaned up.
Ammonium nitrate , when mixed with diesel , is a powerful explosive, but Chief McFarland said the chemicals were not in contact with each other. Moreover, the blasting caps necessary for detonation are sealed in a separate steel container and have been removed from the vehicle.
"Until they mix, everything's not that dangerous," he said.
An official from PCS Nitrogen in Augusta, which manufactures ammonium nitrate, has been to the crash site to monitor the cleanup, Mrs. Tucker said, and a state Department of Natural Resources response team also is monitoring the site.
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