ST. GEORGE — Interstate 15 in Salt Lake County was closed for nearly eight hours Wednesday following a multi-vehicle wreck that included a tanker truck carrying hazardous material.
Just after 9:30 a.m. emergency personnel were dispatched to a crash on I-15 northbound at Exit 6100 on I-15 southbound involving a pickup truck pulling a trailer and a semitractor pulling two tanker trailers.
The second tanker trailer, carrying a hazardous material, overturned during the collision and was lying on its side, according to a statement released by officials with the Utah Department of Public Safety.
Both tanker trailers contained ammonium nitrate, a potentially combustible material that required an evacuation radius of 150 feet, the statement said.
A hazmat team was called to the scene to assess the situation and both northbound and southbound sides of the interstate were closed, leaving numerous vehicles stuck on the roadway between 7200 South and the crash site.
Officials said the chemical is an emulsion and must be mixed with something to create an explosion. Since the tanker remained intact and nothing spilled out onto the interstate, efforts turned toward moving the trailer to an upright position.
Once the tanker was righted all southbound lanes of I-15 were reopened. Northbound lanes remained closed until about 5 p.m. when both tanker trailers were removed from the roadway.
According to a report by Fox 13 News in Salt Lake City, officials determined the crash was caused by the white pickup truck that was hauling a tar trailer. The trailer came loose and struck the tanker carrying the load of hazardous material used for mining explosions, which caused the tanker to flip over onto its side.
“This is probably the biggest traffic event I’ve seen in Salt Lake County in probably 16 years,” UHP Lt. Jeff Nigbur said.
The closure was prolonged when lightning strikes hampered emergency efforts. No serious injuries were reported.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or first responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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