Incident Command Clears HAZMAT Scene Successfully


Kenneth Trujillo of the Velarde Fire Department headed his first major incident on January 4, 2012, when an O’Reilly Semi tipped over on Highway 68, near mile marker 17. No injuries or deaths were reported, but the incident was declared a HAZMAT scene after responders discovered battery acid, oil and gas spillage from the truck. Several response teams assured no chemicals seeped into the Rio Grande River and were contained and disposed of. “We all worked together to contain the wreck, direct traffic, get the word to the appropriate outlets, assured that everyone involved was taken care of and that responders tended to their specific duties as directed,” said Trujillo.


Amongst the responders were: Velarde Fire Department, Dixon Fire Department, Española Fire Department, Rio Arriba County Emergency Preparedness, New Mexico State Police, Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department, Rio Arriba Fire Marshal and the New Mexico Department of Transportation. According to Mateo DeVargas, of Rio Arriba Emergency Preparedness, teams responded within five to 10 minutes of the wreck and worked diligently till 4A.M. the next morning, until the scene was cleared. DeVargas assured crews were fed as he coordinated with the

New Mexico Salvation Army to provide meals and water. 
“I would like to thank everyone who participated in this effort, especially members from the Velarde Fire Department, Ron Padilla from the Española Fire Department as well as Mateo DeVargas, for their help with coordination and keeping order,” said Trujillo.“Without these entities all coming together, we would have not been able to handle this incident as efficiently and quickly as we did.” 

DeVargas said all entities involved were pleased with the outcome of the cleanup and that having Trujillo as the Incident Command was key to that outcome.


-Erika Martinez, January 2012