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3 SCHOOLS CLOSE AFTER TRUCK MISHAP

About 1,250 students and 176 teachers were sent home from three schools Friday morning after a tractor trailer carrying a hazardous chemical collapsed on the I-190 just north of the LaSalle Expressway, state police said.

There was no chemical spill and nobody was hurt. However, state police had the staffs and students at 66th Street Elementary, Niagara Middle and Niagara Catholic Middle-High schools sent home early "as a precautionary measure," Trooper Robert Vishion said. The schools all border the I-190 where the accident occurred.

Niagara Falls Police Capt. Russell Cerminara said city police also warned homeowners in the area to either leave the area or keep their windows and doors closed.

The trailer was hauling a powder-like corrosive compound called sodium hydrogen sulfite, which can be an irritant to the eyes and skin and poisonous if inhaled or ingested.

The mishap occurred at about 8:40 a.m. when the rig, driven by Michael A. Zieziula of Grafton Avenue, Blasdell, hit a bump in the road near the expressway exit, and the weight of the cargo made the trailer buckle at its center, Trooper E.T.

Zieziula was charged with the improper loading of cargo and having a broken trailer frame, two state transportation law violations, Vishion said. If convicted, Zieziula could face fines ranging from $350 to $1,500 on each charge, Vishion said.

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