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Pickup truck crashes into parked trailer, causing late night chemical leak in Union

UNION – A pickup truck struck a parked trailer and caused its 55-gallon drum of methanol, a component used in the production of biodiesel fuel, to leak Wednesday morning in Union, fire officials said.

Shortly after midnight Wednesday, the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District responded to 4609 Franklinville Road, Chief Michael Hill said.

A pickup truck had left the road for unknown reasons and hit a parked trailer. The trailer was carrying a 55-gallon drum of, at the time, an unknown liquid that began to leak. Hazardous material technicians were called to the scene about 1 a.m. to determine what exactly was leaking.

“It was the unknown that was the risk,” Hill said. “Until we knew what we were dealing with, we had to take every precaution.”

The owner of the vehicle then identified the material as methanol, a component used in making biodiesel fuel. Hill said the liquid is flammable and is dangerous if ingested. Emergency crews were concerned about containing the fumes – a few gallons had leaked.

Hazmat technicians determined the material that had leaked almost was completely evaporated, and the scene was safe shortly after 2 a.m.

“Luckily, it was far out from any structures, and it was in a very rural area,” Hill said.

The driver of the pickup truck declined medical treatment at the scene. No one was injured in the incident. The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office was unavailable for comment Wednesday morning.

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