This out-of-control heat wave, combined with our usual traffic mayhem, has made it hard out there for a pool guy on the streets of L.A.:
Brian Humphrey of the L.A. City Fire Department says that over the last week, two separate car crashes involving pool-service vehicles have resulted in dangerous chemical spills along Ventura Boulevard.
The first occurred last Friday, shutting down Ventura in both directions. And the second…
… went down in Encino this morning, when a truck belonging to a commercial pool-cleaning company collided with an unidentified vehicle along another busy stretch of Ventura Boulevard, near Supercuts and a bunch of banks.
The other driver (the one not in the truck) was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. But the pool guy made the mistake of going 'round back to check on his chemicals — where he found himself surrounded by a cloud of toxic fumes.
One gallon of muriatic acid and one gallon of chlorine had spilled and co-mingled in the crash, says Humphrey.
He says the man began coughing and became “briefly ill” upon contact with the fumes. So LAFD paramedics quickly “moved him upwind, checked his vital signs and gave him oxygen.”
Anytime they respond to a chemical spill, law enforcement and emergency departments go into rage mode: According to Humphrey, today's incident involved investigators from the LAPD's Valley Traffic Division, the county fire department, the L.A. Department of Transportation, the L.A. County Department of Public Health and LAFD's own hazmat squad.
Just like last Friday, both directions of Ventura Boulevard were shut down while hazmat workers cordoned off the area and neutralized the chemicals.
We've contacted the LAPD for an update on if, and when, the roadway was reopened. But according to Humphrey, county health officials were only just showing up when the LAFD was leaving around 11 a.m. — tasked with ensuring that no trace of toxin still lingers on the street or in the air.
Muriatic acid and chlorine can be a nasty mix, warns one Santa Barbara pool company on its website:
“Caution: NEVER mix chlorine and muriatic acid as it will produce a very toxic chlorine gas. In the swimming pool water muriatic acid and chlorine work wonders together but as a 'gas' type vapor it is dangerous to your health.”
So if you're carrying the two lovebirds side-by-side in the back of your pool service truck, maybe try not to crash?