Semi hauling toxic chemicals overturns in Tennessee; Evacuations ordered

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RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – An overturned tractor-trailer hauling toxic chemicals closed an Interstate in Tennessee in both directions and a shelter-in-place was ordered for residents in the area.

The accident happened in the westbound lanes of Interstate 24 in Rutherford County around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Officials with the Tennessee Highway Patrol told our  sister station, WKRN-TV, the semi was hauling chlorine-based pool chemicals.

The office of Rutherford County Emergency Management initially asked all residents and motorists to stay clear of the area citing HAZMAT concerns but later asked all residents to evacuate the area.

Officials are preparing to pour water on the fire, which will create a toxic cloud.

The HAZMAT plume extends about a mile southward from the crash site and winds are spreading the plume southward.

Residents were asked to stay indoors, turn off all HVAC heat and air units and bring all pets inside.

Tim Hooker, assistant director of Rutherford County EMA, urged drivers to not take I-24.

Hooker advised anyone who feels their health is being affected to contact their doctor.

The crash involved two tractor-trailers and one driver was transported to Saint Thomas Rutherford hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

A spokesman with Rutherford County Schools said the hazardous materials fire is not expected to affect any schools directly but parents in the affected area should follow the instructions of the emergency personnel.