Acid test for Coffs emergency crews

A TRUCK driver was burnt by sulfuric acid in a nasty accident in Coffs Harbour's Hurley Drive yesterday.

Emergency crews spent most of the day containing and cleaning up 400 litres of the chemical after two 44-gallon drums fell off a truck onto the road.

An unknown quantity found its way down roadside drains.

The truck driver, 28, suffered burns to his forehead when the acid splashed up from the road and onto his face.

He was treated at the scene and was taken in a stable condition to Coffs Harbour Health Campus. He was due to be released late yesterday.

Firefighters, police and paramedics were called at 10.22am, and the immediate area was cordoned off.

Station officer at Coffs Harbour Fire Station, Nat La Macchia, said a quick-thinking bystander had used a dozer to dump sand onto the spill to try and stop it going down the drains.

“We neutralised the acid spill with soda ash,” Mr La Macchia said.

“Once we neutralised it, we were able to wash it away with copious quantities of water.

“It's been a big job to clean it up. We've had 25 firefighters from Coffs Harbour and Sawtell involved throughout the day, and they had to wear spillage suits.”

Coffs Harbour City Council and Environment Protection Authority staff were also involved in the operation.

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