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WJBD - Local News - Tanker Accident Causes I-57 to Shut Down Thursday

Photo by Richard Day.

Photo by Richard Day.

Photo by Richard Day.

Photo by Richard Day.

Tanker Accident Causes I-57 to Shut Down Thursday

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Kinmundy-Alma Assistant Fire Chief Richard Day says the decision to close down Interstate 57 between Kinmundy and Farina Thursday afternoon was done because of the potential problems a chemical in an overturned tanker could have caused if it had been breeched.  It wasn't until the Marion County Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Team were able to get into special suits and examine the tanker close-up that it was determined there wasn't a problem.   

The driver of the semi was southbound at the 130 mile marker three miles north of Kinmundy when he ran off the westside shoulder into the ditch.  The cab of the truck remained upright, but the tanker disconnected and overturned.  

The driver of the truck escaped injury, but a passenger received a minor wrist injury and was transported by Kinmundy-Alma ambulance to Salem Township Hospital.   State Police have not yet released reports on the wreck or the names of those in the truck.  Day reports both were decontaminated in the MABIS haz mat vehicle that serves the region.  

The tanker was carrying 42,000 pounds of chloroacetyl choride.  The liquid chemical can create a flamable vapor if it comes into contact with air and water.    One of the first on the scene also thought they smelled a corosive material.   

The shutdown of the interestate began shortly after firemen arrived around 1:45 and continued until five Thursday night.  Long backups resulted as traffic was detoured onto Route 37 through Kinmundy and Farina.   

Around 10:00 Friday morning, all lanes of I-57 were shut down due to a scare that the overturned tanker had started leaking chloride.   Both northbound lanes and one of the southbound lanes of Interstate 57 were reopened Friday afternoon.  The Marion County Fire Department haz mat team determined that was not the case and set up some indicators to alert them if a leak does develop.  The cleanup crew has determined that the tanker cannot be moved until it is emptied.  

The trucking company is sending another truck that is expected to arrive around midnight.  At least the southbound lanes are expected to be shutdown during the early morning hours while the liquid choride product is transferred to the other truck.

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