Rutherford County Residents Ordered to Evacuate after Truck Spills Toxic Chemicals

Posted in Tennessee Accident Law,Truck Wreck on December 14, 2016

Rutherford County Residents Ordered to Evacuate after Truck Spills Toxic Chemicals

A semi-truck rolled over in the westbound lanes of Interstate 24 early Wednesday morning at around 3 a.m., causing toxic chemicals to be released onto the roadway and the surrounding area.

Per a report by WKRN.com, the crash occurred when two tractor-trailers collided. Both drivers were injured, with one being transported to Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and the other being transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to receive treatment for their injuries.

The semi-truck was hauling chlorine-based pool chemicals when it crashed. Officials with the Rutherford County Emergency Management agency asked motorists to avoid the area, and then expanded their response to include a mandatory evacuation of all residents in the Buchanan Estates area near where the crash occurred.

Around 150 homes have been evacuated, and the process is expected to continue throughout day. Emergency responders are pouring water on the chemicals, which causes them to become airborne and put nearby residents at risk.

Residents who haven’t evacuated are being asked to stay inside, turn off their HVAC units, and bring pets indoors.

A spokesperson with the Tennessee Department of Transportation says that the roadway could reopen at around 3 p.m., but it may be delayed longer.

What Are the Dangers of HAZMAT Truck Accidents?

Big truck accidents always have the potential to cause serious injuries, but they can be especially dangerous when their cargo consists of hazardous, toxic, or corrosive materials and liquids.

HAZMAT trucks carry substances that are flammable, explosive, radioactive, corrosive, or toxic, and when they crash, those substances can spill out onto the roadway and into the atmosphere, putting other motorists and even nearby residents at risk.

Some of the biggest dangers created by HAZMAT truck accidents include:

  • Fire

Many HAZMAT trucks carry highly flammable substances, including oil and gasoline. Because truck accidents are likely to cause sparking and even small fires, these substances can ignite and result in large fires.

  • Explosions

Large quantities of oil and gasoline can ignite and explode, as can certain types of volatile chemicals and substances. Trucks that are carrying explosive substances are extremely dangerous, as explosions can be delayed after accidents, putting rescue workers and emergency responders in danger during the clean-up process.

  • Chemical burns and internal injuries

Some trucks carry gases or liquids that aren’t flammable or explosive, but are highly dangerous to inhale or be exposed to in open air. These chemicals can cause nearby drivers and residents to suffer burns in their lungs or on their skin and they may put them at risk of developing serious illnesses.

  • Poisoning

Certain chemicals carried by industrial trucks are considered poisonous or toxic. These chemicals can cause a variety of serious health problems when they get on truck accident victims. Drivers and passengers can experience life-threatening complications if the chemicals enter their bloodstreams via cuts or wounds suffered during truck accidents.

  • Radiation

Some radioactive materials get transported via industrial semi-trucks and tractor-trailers. When those vehicles crash, the radioactive materials can leak onto the roadway and into the atmosphere. People who are nearby can suffer serious health effects due to radiation exposure, including radiation sickness and even an increased risk of cancer. Radiation can also enter local water supplies, putting entire communities at risk.

Trucking companies, truck owners, and truck drivers who are responsible for transporting hazardous materials must comply with many strict regulations and guidelines to safely move dangerous cargo from place to place. When they fail to do so, they can put other drivers and passengers—not to mention people in nearby homes and businesses—at serious risk if an accident occurs.

At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville truck accident attorneys know how dangerous HAZMAT truck accidents can be for drivers who are both directly involved in the crash or just near the accident scene. If you or someone you know was hurt in a HAZMAT truck crash, we can investigate the accident and determine if it was caused by negligence.

If so, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our legal team has two decades of experience assisting injured victims like you, and we know what it takes to win. To find out how we can assist your family, contact us today by dialing (615) 200-1111 or completing a free online consultation form.