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UPS Driver Had Respiratory Issue Before Discovering Chemical in Truck

A shelter-in-place order issued due to a hazardous materials spill Tuesday morning has been lifted in Menlo Park, according to Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman.

At 10:24 a.m., emergency officials responded to a medical call from a 41-year-old UPS truck driver on Bohannon Drive who was having trouble breathing.

He said there was a package inside the truck that was leaking, which prompted a call to the hazmat team. The spill was identified as benzonitrile, a dangerous chemical that can irritate the eyes, skin and respiratory tract through inhalation, Schapelhouman said.

The driver was found leaning against the truck in respiratory distress. He had picked up the truck around 9:15 a.m. and had been driving for an hour when he began to have difficulty breathing. He was taken to a hospital and did not suffer any life-threatening injuries.

The hazmat team is still on scene early this afternoon along with a private company brought in by UPS to clean up the spill.

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