Two Manteca Schools Closed After Chemical Spill

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MANTECA -- An overnight acid spill in downtown Manteca shut down roadways and businesses.

When Sean Asbury came into work Thursday morning, he was a little confused.

"I saw the police sirens when I came in, and I wasn't really sure what was happening," Asbury said.

He works at Summit Roofing Services off Bessemer Avenue and Industrial Park Drive.

There were no flames. No victims.  Just an invisible but dangerous problem about 400 yards from his office.

"Just after midnight, we had a forklift puncture approximately 300 gallons of hydrochloric acid inside a building," Manteca Fire Marshal Lantz Rey said.

Asbury's office is right outside the "shelter in place/stay away zone," which was just far enough away from the accident scene so he and his coworkers stayed at work.

"The crews at the building added an absorbent and shut the building to keep the spill inside of the building. The fire department arrived on scene and tried to keep the impacts limited," Rey said.

Still, fumes continued to spread to nearby businesses. This forced a shut down of the entire industrial park and surrounding streets, including Lincoln Elementary and Manteca High School. All bus services were also canceled at the Manteca transit center.

Fire officials said the weather made the containment process extremely tricky.

"It's just something that you have to do correctly, and take your time, and get right. One of the challenges we are facing right now, is that we have a 13 mph wind. So we're just trying to make sure we don't add to the problem," Rey said.

Luckily, there were no residential evacuations in effect.

Hazmat crews worked slowly and methodically to contain the area for more than 12 hours.

As for Asbury, he hopes he doesn't come to work with any more surprises.

"Hope they clean up as fast as possible and get everyone back to their normal working schedule," Asbury said.

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