LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The northbound lanes of Interstate 65 at the 41 mile marker near Uniontown have reopened after a crash involving three semis in the southbound lanes Wednesday morning that caused hazardous chemicals to leak.
Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, the public information officer for the Versailles district of Indiana State Police, says the chain-reaction crash happened around 4:30 a.m. near the 43 mile marker. That’s where police say a tractor trailer rear ended another tractor trailer that had stopped because of a previous crash that caused traffic to back up.
“That then in turn pushed that truck and tractor and trailer into another vehicle, also a tractor trailer,” Wheeles said. “So in total we were called to the scene where there were three commercial vehicles involved.”
?[DRONE VIDEO: FIERY CRASH SHUTS DOWN I-65 NEAR SEYMOUR]
Wheeles says one of those semis was carrying hazardous chemicals. The truck carrying the chemicals caught fire after the crash, prompting the evacuations.
“Something inside that trailer ruptured, which caused the chemicals to leak,” Wheeles said.
Wheeles says the company hired to clean up the spill told crews that the chemicals had mixed, which led to the fire. “Everyone at that time made the decision to kind of backup for their safety. It didn’t take long then for the trailer and the tractor to catch fire.”
Wheeles says they’re still working to determine exactly what kind of chemicals the truck was carrying and where it was headed.
“Our investigators will have that information at some point,” Wheeles said.
The homes evacuated were primarily on the west side of the interstate, north of State Road 250 and along U.S. 31. People are being asked to either leave or shelter-in-place by closing doors and windows.
Wheels says a passenger in the sleeper compartment of one of the tractor trailers was injured, but is expected to recover.
The fire continued to burn hours after the crash, and Wheels says he isn’t sure how long it will continue to burn.
The northbound lanes reopened to traffic around 3 p.m.
There is no word on when the southbound lanes might reopen. Wheels says heat from the fire may have damaged the pavement which could require crews to make repairs.
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