ANNA — Traffic came to a standstill Thursday morning on Interstate 75 because of a chemical spill.
Shelby County HAZMAT, along with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), Anna Police, Anna Fire and Rescue, Van Buren Fire, Butler Fire, Sidney Fire, the Ohio Highway Patrol, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Red Cross, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the environmental clean up company Superior Environmental Solutions (SES) were dispatched to a chemical spill on the southbound entrance ramp at I-75 in Anna Thursday at 6:27 a.m.
All lanes of southbound interstate were originally shut down because of the chemical spill, which occurred when a semitrailer’s tanker reportedly exploded. The tanker was hauling sodium hydroxide at the time of the incident.
The driver told officials he had just exited a gas station when he heard cracking and popping, so he decided to leave the area away from other vehicles to a safer location when he pulled over onto the entrance ramp to I-75. He heard a hissing sound and exited the tanker when it reportedly exploded. There was no fire.
Cheri Drinkwine, director of the local EMA, said they are unsure what caused the explosion and that it remains under investigation. She said no chemicals got into the waterway and that it was contained to the exit ramp and grass.
“It will take some time to determine what happened … There wasn’t any threat to the public health,” Drinkwine said.
According to Drinkwine, HAZMAT was first to respond to the investigation. She said samples were taken by HAZMAT and SES. Another tanker was reported to arrive and “off-load” the remaining chemicals from the damaged one, and then SES will provide the remaining clean-up phase by “removing soil where the product landed.”
The exit ramp from state Route 119 to southbound I-75 and state Route 119 is closed and could remain closed for up to 36 hours; however, it is expected to reopen sooner.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.