Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

October 27, 2012

10:09 EVENING UPDATE: I65 lanes closed after truck chemical spill

By SUSAN TEBBEN
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — 10:10 p.m.: 

The Kentucky State Police released a statement about the tractor trailer fire on I65 between Cave City and Munfordville. 

On Saturday, Kentucky State Police responded to I65 south regarding a commercial motor vehicle that had pulled off the right hand shoulder of the roadway with the trailer on fire.

Jarvis M. Washington, 26, of Madison, Tenn., advised that his trailer had a tire malfunction, causing a spark that ignited his trailer which was carrying hazardous materials, according to a release by the KSP Post in Bowling Green. Washington was able to disengage the tractor from the trailer. 

The investigation is still ongoing and is being conducted by Trooper Joel Huff. Huff was assisted on scene by Troopers Ronnie Reynolds and Jonathan Biven; Horse Cave, Park City and Cave City Fire Departments; Hart County, Barren County, and Kentucky Emergency Management; and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).

The lanes of traffic were closed for about 10 hours, the KSP stated in their release.

The northbound lanes were opened at 12:30 p.m., according to a KYTC release, but as of the latest update at 3:45 p.m., the southbound lanes were still closed.

1:30 p.m.:

A tractor trailer with a “mixed load of cargo,” according to Hazmat officials, caught on fire on I-65 Saturday morning.

A truck carrying sodium hydroxide and chemicals for cleaning products, along with one used in epoxy hardener burst into flame while driving northbound on the interstate at about 7:30 a.m.

North and southbound lanes of I-65 between Cave City and Munfordville near the Barren County line were closed after crews arrived and northbound traffic was directed off the interstate at the Cave City exit, according to a release by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Traffic is still being directed on to the interstate at the Munfordville exit. Southbound traffic is being detoured off at Munfordville and back on at Cave City using U.S. 31W and 31E, the release stated.

“It appears the fire started in the axle area of the truck,” said Hazmat and Barren County Solid Waste Coordinator Shannon White. “It wasn’t an accident at all, just a fire that started.”

No injuries had been reported, but White said the clean up crew was being watched carefully to make sure they didn’t come in contact with the chemicals.

“The containers [for the chemicals] have been breached and some of the labels were burned off so we don’t know exactly what has been made with these chemicals,” White said.

The northbound lanes of I-65 will be closed for several more hours while all the chemicals are collected, White said.

Traffic was problematic this particular Saturday because of the Kentucky Music Educators Association Marching Band Championships happening in Bowling Green.

“More than 50 high schools and their followers are using corridors including Interstate 65 this morning,” the KYTC release said. “For those traveling south towards Bowling Green for this event, US 31E to Glasgow and then to Interstate 65 via the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway will also provide an alternate route.”

At about 11:30 a.m., the southbound traffic was being cleared, but the lanes remained closed.

Emergency management was required to wait until the truck’s temperature cooled down enough to allow the opening of the northbound lanes, the release stated.

As of 12 p.m., the detours remain in effect and southbound lanes will be closed for “several hours,” a KYTC update stated.