Thousands of cars damaged by acid spill in southeastern B.C.
Thousands of insurance claims have been filed after a highly corrosive acid spilled on Highway 3 in southeastern B.C. – twice.
Among the vehicles damaged was a brand new fire engine, a much-needed item firefighters in Trail waited a long time for.
"We got that truck last year. It's a 2017, built by HUB and it's custom built for us at a cost of about $800,000," Acting Capt. Rich Morris told CTV News.
In May, crews brought their new truck to a sulphuric acid spill on Highway 22. It was the second spill in as many months.
"When they got there they assessed it and did everything right. Unbeknownst to them, they had already driven through the trail of acid that had leaked from the truck," Morris said.
"ICBC sent a chemical engineer to assess it, the truck was deemed unsafe to drive. It was written off."
The department is now without a frontline engine, and expects to have to wait a year to get a new one custom built.
The fire chief's vehicle was written off too, as were 40 cars from a Ford dealership near the two spills.
"It shortens the lifespan of the vehicles and accelerates contamination of aluminum parts," said Dan Ashman, owner of AM Ford Sales Ltd.
"This has effected roughly 25 per cent of our inventory, upwards of 40 plus vehicles – I think three new, and the balance were used vehicles – that basically have to be crushed."
ICBC has received approximately 3,000 claims from the two acid spills. The dollar amount is still unknown, but the provincial insurer is suing to try to recover the costs.
Teck Resources Limited, the company that sells the acid, said in a statement: "We regret the concern that this issue has caused in the community. International Raw Materials Ltd. was the owner of the acid and responsible for its safe transportation."
Ashman said he feels the blame rests solely on the shipper and end user.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson