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Sulfuric chemical spills in downtown Provo

Published April 17, 2013 9:29 pm

Crime • Spill was contained and firefighters expect it will burn itself out.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A contained sulfuric chemical spill on Wednesday forced the evacuation of a building in downtown Provo.

A company near 500 West 500 South that tests how much heat chemicals produce when mixed together was changing out a tube of sulfur trioxide when the tube fell, reacting to the moisture in the air and started giving off a lot of smoke, said Provo Fire Battalion Chief Tom Augustus. When sulfur trioxide comes in contact with water, it forms sulfuric acid, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The reaction was contained behind a glass enclosure, but firefighters pulled everyone out of the building about 3:30 p.m. until the chemical burns itself out, which Augustus expected could happen before 7 p.m.

"We are monitoring everything, it's just a matter of time before it uses itself up," Augustus said.

No one was hurt.

mmcfall@sltrib.comTwitter: @mikeypanda