Explosion Averted In Hockley County - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/24/08

Explosion Averted In Hockley County

Teamwork among law enforcement agencies averted what could have been a tragic situation outside Levelland on Thursday.

Around 1:30 p.m., a call came into Levelland law enforcement alerting them a truck with explosives aboard had rolled into a ditch near a caliche pit in west Hockley County. The teamwork was among Levelland Police and Fire Department, Lubbock Police, Wolfforth Police and Texas DPS.

It was because of the speedy teamwork that there was no explosion and nobody was hurt. "We got a call about 1:30 this afternoon that we had a truck rolled over in a caliche pit north of Levelland on 1490 and Monaco. We got out here and learned that the truck was carrying chemicals to use to blast in the pit," said Levelland Firefighter Bobby Bells.

An explosives truck entering this area is very common. Area caliche comes from these pits and, in order to get it, explosives are used to break it up for later use on roads. It was the explosives aboard the truck that caused so much concern for the authorities on the scene. "The guy was driving down the road and overcorrected and when he did it rolled completely over on its top," said Bell.

Chemical's like Ammonium Nitrate, Sodium Nitrate, Petroleum Hydro-carbons and 56 sticks of dynamite were aboard the truck. "We called the Hazmat from Lubbock and the bomb squad from Lubbock to come help diffuse the situation."

It's the Ammonium Nitrate mixed with the diesel fuel in the truck that caused the most concern. "It's the same stuff that was used in the Oklahoma bombing and if that stuff mixes together you can have an explosion," added Bell.

But, again, luckily there was no explosion. Crews had the scene cleaned up and secure about four hours after the truck rolled. Aside from the driver of the truck being a little sore, no other damage was done.

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