Hazardous chemical awaits clean-up east of Willcox late Sunday

The white colored pond of nitric acid near the Willcox location of the US Border Patrol station on Rex Allen Jr. drive was part of a 28,000 gallon leak from the Fertizona chemical plant discovered at about 8:30 pm Sunday.

Hazmat crews were called out late Sunday night to clean up a nitric acid chemical spill that leaked 28,000 gallons from the Fertizona fertilizer plant on East Maley Street in Willcox.

City manager Caleb Blaschke issued the following press release:

At 8:19 p.m., City dispatch received notice of a chemical spill on Rex Allen Jr. Drive. City of Willcox Police and Fire were dispatched accordingly with the Arizona Department of Public Safety HAZMAT Unit. The chemical identified was Nitric Acid and spilled from a Fertizona holding tank.

Hazmat officials have notified the City that there is not a threat to public safety and health. The spill has been contained to the west side of Rex Allen Jr. Drive and Grants Street and is being mitigated by the appropriate HAZMAT personnel.

Rex Allen Jr. Drive and Grant Street are currently closed to traffic until further notice. However, residents who live on Rex Allen Jr. Drive and Border Patrol Agents are permitted through.

The City will provide further updates as information is received. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Willcox Police Department at (520) 384-4673.

Rex Allen Jr. drive, with access to the border patrol station and the golf course, was shut down for the clean-up, while E. Maley Street, also known as the Highway 186 route toward Dos Cabezas, remains open. Traffic is encouraged to travel slowly on that area of the highway.

Prevailing winds were eastward in nature away from city population and no evacuations were planned for a chemical that is apparently only a minor irritant for airborne purposes, but is serious if contacted directly, said Willcox DPS police chief Jose Rios. Rex Allen Jr. road was expected to be closed through Monday morning.

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