LOCAL : Toxic Spill Closes Streets in Irvine

From Times staff and wire service reports

Two 55-gallon drums filled with an ether-based substance fell off a chemical truck in Irvine this morning, forcing authorities to close off the intersection at Von Karmen and McGaw avenues and evacuate two businesses, authorities said.

Orange County Fire Department spokeswoman Kathleen Cha said passers-by discovered the drums, which were leaking into a flood control channel, about 9:45 a.m. The drums fell off a truck from Cypress Chemical Co., based in Anaheim, Cha said.

Two hazardous materials teams and a fire engine company were sent to the scene to identify the chemicals and stop the spill in the largely industrial and commercial area.

Cha said that "because it is open air and because there are no winds," the situation appeared to be under control. The ether-based substance is moderately combustible and causes skin irritation, Cha said.

Fire officials also advised area businesses to shut off air-conditioning units to prevent fumes from entering buildings. No injuries were reported.

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