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BELLEAIR – A Belleair sanitation worker was transported to Morton Plant Hospital after he inhaled acid fumes shortly before noon Tuesday, March 12.
Largo Fire-Rescue spokesman David Mixson said Belleair’s sanitation department was doing its normal rounds and somewhere on the route workers noticed a white smoke type vapor in the back of a truck.
The truck was pulled into an open field near the city’s old sewage plant so workers could evacuate the truck. During that time, one of the workers was exposed to an unknown chemical and had some breathing issues.
The worker who inhaled the fumes was taken to the hospital and was in stable condition upon transport for evaluation.
The Pinellas County Hazmat team was called to the scene, dumped the truck, searched through the contents and found a bottle of muriatic acid.
“Somebody probably put it out with normal trash,” Mixson said. “In the container it’s fine, but when you put it in the back of a garbage truck, it gets crushed and mixed with other things,” causing a reaction.
Police are trying to determine who disposed of the acid in trash pickup that caused the problems, Belleair Police Chief Thomas Edwards said. Such chemicals need to be disposed of at the Hazmat waste site under county regulations.