PINTLALA/TYSON, AL (WSFA) - Richard Walker is able to laugh about it now but a few hours ago he unknowingly did something that could have been a big problem at the Flying J Travel Plaza off Interstate 65 South.
"It started smoking vigorously. We poured water on it and that didn't help," said Walker who Flying J's maintenance supervisor.
Poured water on a bucket of powdery lime which produced what Walker described as an 'acid' smell.
"You could tell it was burning," he said.
It was strong enough to burn a hole in the yellow bucket.
For whatever reason the bucket fell off the back of an 18-wheeler as the big rig was pulling out of the parking lot at the Flying J. The Lowndes County EMA Director says there is no evidence the truck driver knowingly allowed the stuff to drop out and he's long gone.
It is the water mixed with lime that causes the potential danger.
"Especially if you have an existing illness such as asthma or bronchitis," said EMA Director Walter Hill.
Carefully and methodically the Montgomery Fire Department's haz mat team scooped up the lime, placed it in the bag which was later stored in a drum on site.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management says the drum will be taken to a municipal solid waste landfill.
As for Richard Walker an unusual day at work but one that ended on a good note and a chuckle.
In case you're wondering farmers typically use lime to improve the Ph in the soil. That in turn increases plant nutrients.
Hill, meantime, says they plan to look at the surveillance video to see if it shows how the bucket fell out that 18-wheeler.