Update: Northbound, southbound lanes open


9:30 p.m. update: All lanes of southbound Interstate 65 near the 43 mile marker have been reopened.

6:11 p.m. update: Indiana State Police reports that the extreme heat from the fire on I-65 in Jackson County has caused damage to a large section of asphalt. Indiana Department of Transportation crews are on the scene inspecting the roadway.

Here’s a photo of the asphalt:

Interstate 65. Seymour.

6:09 p.m. update: The fire is out. Cleanup has started.

4:30 p.m. update: From the Indiana Department of Transportation: At this time, we are waiting for ISP to bring INDOT personnel onto the SB I-65 crash site at mile marker 43. Pavement damage assessment from the chemical fire can be made at that time–with repairs following. No time estimate for reopening SB I-65 until then.

3:08 p.m. update:  The truck is still burning and it is probably going to be burning for hours, according to officials. The Environmental Protection Agency has told firefighters not to put water on the fire.

The smoke from the fire has been monitored and evaluated by officials with the state fire marshal’s office, and they told a local official no harmful chemicals or byproducts were found.

People are going to be notified that they can return home shortly.

There about 25 homes in the area and many residents were not at home at the time of the fire.

Duane Davis, director of Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, said once the burned remains of the truck are removed from the scene, state highway crews will grind the pavement and fix the blacktop.

3:03 p.m. update: Northbound Interstate 65 north of the 41-mile marker in Jackson County is open. Southbound will remain closed for a lengthy time.

2:30 p.m. update: Officials are recommending that people evacuate the area because of the smoke and what it might contain from the chemicals.

“For right now, there’s no way for me to know what the contents of the truck was,” said Duane Davis, director of Jackson County Emergency Management Agency.

He said smoke can cause respiratory problems.

“Air monitoring will start soon and we’ll be able to let people back in when it registers as safe,” he said.

The fire has severely damaged the interstate and it will take some repairs, Davis said.

2:25 p.m. update: Indiana State Police reports that the chemical crash fire is burning out. All lanes of Interstate 65 are still closed. Alternate route is U.S. 31.

1:43 p.m. update: Duane Davis, director of Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, said he expects the evacuation to last for about four more hours.

Crothersville Community Schools has been notified and plan to make changes to two bus routes that go into that area.

The Salvation Army also is setting up shop south of the crash scene to provide food and water and relief for firefighters, police and other workers.

1:06 p.m. update: The truck was carrying four types of hazardous materials, two corrosion, one oxidizer and one with acid,  Indiana State Trooper Seth Davidson said.

“The chemicals spilled and mixed,” he said.

1:05 p.m. update: Authorities are knocking on doors and recommending people evacuate. It is not a mandatory evacuation and there is no shelter set up.

Officials said some people left, but one man they talked to has decided to stay unless he wind shifts.

12:39 p.m. update: Duane Davis, director of Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, said they are evacuating people within a half mile radius. Few people live near the area to the west of the Interstate because it is Swifty Farms, a horse farm. He said people are cooperating with the order to evacuate and there is no panic.
12:38 p.m. update: Duane Davis, director of Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, is on scene. There is no explosion. Officials are allowing the fire to burn out. Davis does not know what kind of chemicals the truck was carrying.

12:25 p.m. update: The truck is on fire, according to our reporters at the scene. Dark smoke cloud can be seen for miles.

Noon update: In a few minutes, all lanes from the 41- to 50-mile markers will be clear of traffic and closed so cleanup can start.

11:38 a.m. update: Northbound lanes are being closed too.

From the Indiana State Police: The situation on I-65 in Jackson County continues to deteriorate. As a precaution, northbound ianes of I-65 are now being shutdown at exit 41. All houses within a half mile of the scene are being evacuated at this time.

Updated at 11 a.m.

Complications caused by the cleanup of a wreck on Interstate 65 has forced the closure of both southbound lanes of Interstate 65 at the 43-mile-marker, police report.

There is no timetable when the inside lane can be reopened, police said.

Updated at 10:15 a.m.

Police are preparing to open the left lane of southbound Interstate 65 at the 43-mile-marker as the cleanup from a wreck this morning involving three semitrailers.

Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said a chemical spill after the wreck is not as bad as first thought.

“Since the spill is in the right lane and shoulder of southbound I-65, we will open the left lane shortly,” said Wheeles, the public information officer with the Indiana State Police Versailles Post.

He said right lane will remain for possibly four hours as the work to clean up the crash site continues.

A wreck early Wednesday morning involving three trucks near the 43-mile marker of Interstate 65, north of Uniontown, has left southbound lanes closed, Wheeles reported this morning.

He said southbound traffic is being diverted at U.S. 50 (Exit 50) at Seymour.

The detour uses U.S. 31 south to State Road 250 and back on I-65 at the 41-mile marker at Uniontown. Drivers are encouraged to seek an alternate route and leave extra drive time this morning.

Wheeles earlier said there were no life-threatening injuries, but one person had some injuries.

He also reported there was no tanker involved in crash as originally reported.

Hazardous chemicals are leaking from a box trailer. Two semitrailers are being removed, but an environmental company is en route to clean up the spill. There is an unknown timetable at this time.

The wreck was reported at 4:37 a.m. Wednesday.

For more on this story, read Thursday’s edition of The Tribune.

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