DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – At a morning press conference, Dawson County Fire Chief and Emergency Services Director Danny Thompson minimized the danger to the public after an explosives truck owned by Austin Powder Company overturned spilling ammonium nitrate onto Dawsonville Highway near Sundown Way.
Two people suffered minor injuries and were transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment. Two others who also suffered minor injuries declined transport.
Thompson said about five-gallons of ammonium nitrated was spilled and was quickly contained without any leaking into nearby Lake Lanier.
Thompson said, “When units from Fire Station 2 arrived on scene at about 5:20 a.m., they determined they were dealing with a petroleum ammonium nitrate product and they called for the necessary remediation companies.”
Thompson said ammonium nitrate is used as an explosive in mining rock quarries but it requires the presence of other elements to detonate it. “It typically requires a one-pound cast booster blasting cap,” he said. “The companies drill a hole and pack this petroleum-based product into it then apply the one-pound cast booster blasting cap to be able to detonate it. It is a very safe product since it requires various elements for it to become an explosive product. There are no blasting caps on the scene so it is safe in its capacity as is stands right now.”
The incident closed Hwy. 53 between Blue Ridge Overlook and Sundown Way. Thompson said the road will likely remain closed until late afternoon.
A “shelter in place” was issued for Sundown subdivision which is located less than 500 feet from the accident site.
Georgia State Patrol is investigating the accident.
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