SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Federal regulators are currently investigating a tragic crash involving a semitruck carrying a dangerous substance that led to “multiple fatalities” in central Illinois. The incident resulted in hazardous air conditions, prompting the evacuation of area residents. Jennifer Gabris, a spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board, confirmed that the agency is looking into the matter.
The crash occurred near Teutopolis, and emergency responders, including firefighters and police, worked to contain the cloud of anhydrous ammonia that leaked from the overturned tanker. Effingham County Sheriff Paul Kuhns described the scene as multiple brave firemen, EMT, hazmat specialists, and police officers working to mitigate the situation.
Authorities have not released the exact number of casualties or injuries, but they have confirmed that the accident involved “multiple” vehicles, including the overturned tanker. The accident on U.S. Highway 40 occurred at around 9:25 p.m., and it caused dangerous air conditions in the northeast area of Teutopolis, prompting the evacuation of residents within a one-mile radius of the spill.
According to Tim McMahon, chief of the Teutopolis Fire Protection District, the winds shifted multiple times, making it challenging for crews to contain the leak. The accident led to a closure of the area to prevent further exposure.
The town of Teutopolis, which has a population of about 1,600 people, was heavily impacted by the evacuation. The community is known for its tight-knit structure, with many residents having family members living nearby. Such ties became crucial as residents sought shelter with their relatives.
Anhydrous ammonia is widely used in agriculture and industrial settings, and its release can have devastating consequences. This incident is a reminder of the potential dangers associated with transporting hazardous materials. As authorities continue their investigation, the focus remains on the safety of the community and mitigating the impact of the chemical leak.