Evacuation Order Lifted; I-24 Accident Wednesday

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Photo from News Channel 5
Smoke direction in Rutherford County.

I-24 is back open - Below is our Wednesday report:

A hazardous materials situation in the Buchanan area has been resolved. A crash of two semi-trucks on I-24 westbound at mile marker 87 led to evacuations on Wednesday...

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Spokeswoman Lisa Marchesoni with the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office with news residents in the Buchanan Estates area had been waiting to hear around six-hours after being evacuated. One of the semis that crashed caught fire and due to it's cargo, which was pool supplies, toxic smoke filled the air for several hours in the area...

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Crews used a dry chemical, much like what would be found in a fire extinguisher, to knock down the blaze.

More than 150 homes in Buchanan Estates, possibiy up to 450 people, were forced from their homes as a result of the incident. The evacuation order came two-hours after residents were told at 4am to shelter in place, turn off their HVAC units and to close doors and windows.

Some of the roads affected were Aldridge Road, Epps Mill Road, Miller Road, Capitol Way and Rankin Road.

Emergency crews had to go door to door to alert residents of the evacuations and used PA systems on their emergency vehicles as well.

Patterson Park was set up as a shelter for displaced residents until the evacuation order was lifted.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is now investigating the crash, which will cause I-24 to remain closed, both eastbound (toward Chattanooga) and westbound (toward Nashville). Eastbound traffic is likely to be re-opened during the afternoon drive (possibly around 4pm), which westbound lanes will take much longer to open.


1pm press update by Rutherford County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Lisa Marchesoni


PREVIOUSLY REPORTED

Accident:

Two tractor trailer trucks crashed into one another on I-24 early Wednesday morning. One truck overturned at mile marker 87 and has created a hazmat situation. Evidently, the truck was hauling chlorine pool tablets. (NOTE: The 87 mile marker is between Joe B. Jackson Parkway and Buchanan exit).

A five-mile stretch of the interstate has been blocked by the crash. The interstate will remain closed at this time (updated at 8:05AM).

Rutherford County Emergency Management is asking nearby residents to shelter in place (see map for area). Officials are asking residents there to stay in doors, turn off HVAC heat and air and wait on officials to give an all clear.

Press Conferences:

Lisa Marchesoni from RCSO & Patrick Miller with Ruth. Co EMS give an update at 12:15pm...

Tim Hooker with the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency stated that some who are stuck in traffic on I-24 will have to be evacuated on foot...

Hooker explains the contents in the truck that was involved in the accident...

More details:

More Detail:

  • 7:59 AM - Specially trained HAZMAT Team makes first entry into the actual tractor trailer truck and extinguishes remaining interior blaze.
  • 8:06 AM - Ambulance stationed to monitor the HAZMAT Entry Team as they exit the tractor trailer.
  • 8:30 AM - Rutherford County Sheriff's Office holds press conference announcing that those traveling through the affected areas should be patient and remain in cars. Multiple agencies are on the scene that not only include state agencies, but also the Federal Environmental Protection Agency.
  • 8:33 AM - Sheriff's Office confirms that roughly 75 homes have been evacuated. That number changed to 150 homes at 10 AM Wednesday.
  • 8:35 AM - Sheriff's Office announces that traffic on I-24 could be shut down for six more hours, opening at ultimately 2PM. Much of the traffic is being re-routed down Joe B. Jackson Parkway and to 231 South.
  • 8:40 AM - Chief Lowery at the Sheriff's Office confirmed authorities are working with the weather service to follow smoke patterns from the chemical fire on I-24.
  • 9:01 AM - TDOT Trucks on the scene
  • 9:57 AM - Preparing to spray water on fire which will react to the chemicals
  • 10:00 AM - 150 homes evacuated in the affected area

10 AM PRESS CONFERENCE AUDIO BELOW:

Terry Cunningham with Rutherford County EMS explains Chlorine related illnesses:

Evacuation:

Residents in the Buchanan Estates area, Cliffside Road, Ridgewood Road need to evacuate the area immediately. Do not take 1-24 to leave the area. Evacuating downwind area.

NOTE: Patterson Park in Murfreesboro will be used as an emergency shelter.

Patterson Park
521 Mercury Blvd
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Shelter in Place:

Residents who live in Buchanan Estates off the 89-mile marker of Interstate 24 are asked to shelter in place because of chemicals from a tractor-trailer fire at the 87-mile marker. The chemicals are dangerous. Roads affected include Epps Mill Road, Miller Road, Capitol Way, Rankin Road and Aldridge Road and near the Dollar General store.

Rutherford County Sheriff's deputies are in the area using a public address system to warn residents.

The wreck was reported just after 3:00 o'clock Wednesday morning (12/14/2016) and a plume of hazardous smoke has caused the shelter in place to be issued. Westbound I-24 (toward Nashville) has been closed and is expected to stay closed for several hours.

Rutherford County Schools OPEN:

We have been in contact with the Rutherford County sheriff's office and the emergency management agency and have been advised there is no reason to close any schools at this time. The hazardous materials fire is not expected to affect any schools directly. However, there are some residential areas who have been told to shelter in their homes, and those parents should follow the instructions of the emergency personnel.

Bus routes will not be run at this time in those areas affected by the sheltering procedures, and as such, students should not be left at bus stops if your neighborhood has been instructed to take shelter.

The school district will release additional information, as needed, concerning schools or bus routes. But again, no schools are being closed at this time because of the hazardous materials fire in the Epps Mill Road area, under the recommendation of emergency response officials.

Monitor WGNS For UPDATES

Check this website, or tune your radio to WGNS for updates as well as notice of when the "all clear" is given (AM 1450, FM 100.5, and FM 101.9).

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hazmat, I-24, Murfreesboro news, NewsRadio WGNS, overturned tractor trailer, tractor trailer, wreck
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