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WJBD - Local News - Vapor Cloud Results In I-57 Being Closed in Both Directions Between Kinmundy and Farina

Vapor Cloud Results In I-57 Being Closed in Both Directions Between Kinmundy and Farina

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Both the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 57 between Kinmundy and Farina remain closed until further notice.

The decision to close traffic in both lanes and divert traffic on Route 37 was made around five Saturday night as a result of a vapor cloud hanging over a damaged tanker truck involved in a Thursday afternoon accident three miles north of the Kinmundy exit.  In addition, residents near the wreckage are being asked to leave their homes as a precaution Sunday afternoon as crews get ready to remove the truck.

Kinmundy-Alma Assistant Fire Chief Richard Day says representatives of Dow Chemical, who made the chloroacetyl chloride, have been monitoring the situation and report the amount of the chemical in the cloud is very minute.  While there is no concern for passing traffic, the emergency response team doesn't want to risk someone stopping along the highway.

Day says it is now believed the small leak may have been there from the beginning, but the vapor cloud just began showing up early Saturday night due to changing weather conditions.  He reports 90 percent of the 42,000 pounds of the chemical has now been transferred to another tanker truck.  The remaining chemical will be much more difficult to transfer because of the way the truck landed in the ditch when the trailer came off the hitch.  The chloride chemical can create a flammable vapor if it comes into contact with air and water.

State Police have not released reports on the accident.  Initial information indicates the driver ran off the west shoulder of the southbound lane and ran into the roadside ditch.  The tanker detached from the truck and overturned on its side.  The driver escaped injury, but a passenger was treated for a minor wrist injury at Salem Township Hospital.

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