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Farm truck Loaded With Fertilizer Crashes, Spread Cargo Across Highway

A farm truck hauling a load of urea nitrate fertilizer crashed on U.S. Route 30 in Canton, resulting in the contents spilling onto the highway. Officials initially feared a hazardous material incident or explosion.

The accident shut down U.S. Route 30 in both directions between Interstate 77 and Raff Avenue SW on June 27, 2011 before 7:00 p.m. Canton police and firefighters worked together with a private contractor to clear the scene.

Officials evacuated nearby businesses and homes as a precaution.

The crash involved a single open-bed farm truck carrying a load of fertilizer. Officials were unsure if the material was flammable or toxic.

The director of the Stark County Emergency Management Agency, Tim Warstler, said the driver claimed the seven tons of dry fertilizer that was dumped was urea fertilizer.

The truck driver suffered minor injuries.

According to the University of Minnesota’s Extension’s website, urea fertilizer is neither flammable nor explosive. Warstler said there were no shipping papers aboard the truck, and there was concern that the material could be ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that is explosive and has been used by terrorists.

Canton Police Captain Les Marino said the substance was being treated as urea nitrate, a highly flammable and potentially explosive fertilizer-based material.

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