CHAMPAIGN, IL (KTVI) – A hazardous chemical spill resulting from an overturned tractor trailer shut down Interstate 57 in Champaign, IL for most of Sunday. The spill forced more than 100 residents out of their homes. No one was injured in the accident.
Authorities said the trailer contained a chemical used in cleaners and shampoos. Dimethylaminopropylamine is flammable. Vapors from the chemical can cause health problems.
The driver of the tractor trailer was cited for driving too fast for the weather conditions.
“Road conditions were snowy,” said Illinois State Trooper Tracy Lillard. “It was starting to get slushy.”
Lillard said the driver changed lanes and felt his tractor trailer start to jackknife.
“The tanker came un-attached to the truck and so they separated and the tanker slid on its side into the center median, said Lillard.
First responders made sure the spill was contained. Evacuations were ordered because of potentially dangerous vapors. After an initial evacuation of about 30 homes, another 60 were evacuated when the wind shifted.
“We knew the temperatures were going to be dropping. We knew winds would be picking up, and as a result of that there are no words to describe the challenge firefighters have,” said Champaign Fire Chief Gary Ludwig.
By late Sunday night, authorities determined residents could return to their homes. The chemical had been safely off-loaded and authorities were in the process of removing the wrecked big-rig so I-57 could be reopened.