On Monday, an Amazon driver driving along US-101 in Ventura County, California, smelled a strong chemical odor coming from the back of his delivery truck. The driver concerned about the odor exited the freeway, stopped in a safe location, and called 911.
By luck, the Ventura County Fire Department Station 25 was located at the exit and offered quick assistance. In addition, the Ventura California Highway Patrol, Ventura County Fire Engines, and Ventura County Fire Department Hazardous Materials Unit responded to stopped Amazon delivery vehicle and a strange scene evolved as shown in the pictures below.
After the Haz-Mat Team entered the vehicle, they were able to identify the strong chemical odor as spilled liquid fabric softener. The truck was considered safe by officials at the scene and the CHP said it resumed its deliveries.
The pictures posted by the CHP Ventura Area posted on its Facebook Page show a second Amazon delivery vehicle parked at the scene. The story the CHP provided about the incident does not mention this second vehicle, and it’s unclear why it was there. But it was likely at the scene to offer assistance with deliveries of other packages if the first truck could not continue.
This is undoubtedly a bit of an amusing story, and in the end, all was well. Even the CHP offered up a bit of humor about this situation once it was known just to be fabric softener. “The truck was deemed safe, extra soft, wrinkle free, and continued on to make its deliveries,” the CHP said on its FB Page.
But this incident also shows that when sending liquids, it is important to wrap them in plastic, label them properly, so if they accidentally spill, the spill is contained and quickly understood. One never knows how liquids may interact with other items in a delivery vehicle or warehouse if spilled.
The Amazon driver certainly had reasons to be concerned about chemical odor in the delivery truck. While it turned out to be just fabric softener, it could have been something far worse, possibly dangerous to the driver.
In 2018, the United States Postal Service issued new guidance on liquids for shippers. In addition, shippers may want to consult their shipping carriers for tips into best avoiding or containing spills.
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