Tanker Truck Accident Partially Closes Pike County Road

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

An eastern Kentucky road is partially closed after a tanker truck accident spills the chemical ammonium nitrate.

It happened on 194 east near Freeburn in Pike County.

Haz-mat crews are cleaning up the scene, but say there is no danger.

The truck was carrying ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel.

Officials say that's an explosive combination if mixed together.

Police say the ammonium nitrate leaked, but the diesel did not, preventing anything worse happening.

Ammonium nitrate filled the ditch and road after the truck carrying it crashed into the ditch. Officials say the chemical isn't dangerous alone,

“Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer,” Doug Tackett said.

Haz-mat crews didn't take any chances when it leaked out of the truck.

“It can also be used as a blasting agent when it's mixed with diesel fuel,” Tackett said.

The truck was also carrying diesel fuel, but investigators say it didn't leak out, and crews made sure the two never interacted while they moved the truck.

Austin Powder Company officials, the truck's owners, say it was making a normal route going from West Virginia to Virginia.

Police say driver told them he swerved to miss another truck and fell into the ditch.

Austin Powder Company hired their own Haz-mat team to clean it up.

Local emergency management directors say there is no danger while they clean up the ammonium nitrate.

“Not as long as its not mixed with anything. Ammonium nitrate wouldn't be harmful in that situation,” Tackett said.

They don't expect any environmental problems after it is gone.

State police say this does appear to be just an accident and no charges or citations are issued, but troopers say the crash is still under investigation.

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