Local News

Three Hospitalized Following Truck Fire,...

Posted September 17, 1996 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Burlington police say the accident that has closed Interstate 85-40 near Burlington could snarl traffic until rush hour tomorrow morning.

At least three people have been taken to hospitals after inhaling smoke from a chemical cloud sent up by the tractor-trailer wreck.

Burlington police say Interstate 85-40 could be blocked for up to 14 more

hours because of this accident. That estimate would mean traffic could start flowing again just before dawn tomorrow morning.

An officer working at the scene of the accident on Interstate 85/40 and a woman who was snarled in traffic were taken to the hospital this morning. The tractor trailer driver also was taken to the hospital. There was no immediate word on their condition.

Captain Jim Conklin of the Burlington Police Department says the truck, which is owned by an Indiana company, caught fire after one of the rear tires blew out as it traveled north on Interstate 85/40.

Police say there was at least one explosion in the trailer which was carrying a variety of hazardous chemicals including paint, acid and sodium hydroxide.

Businesses along a road that runs parallel to the interstate sent workers home for the day. But the wind is changing directions, and authorities say they may need to evacuate a one-square mile area surrounding the wreck.

Emergency workers plan to let the fire burn itself out before they try to clear the highway. They expect the road to remain closed for several more hours.

Kristi Vestal, WBAG Copyright ©1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.