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I-10 Closed Until Wednesday After Truck Accident

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, all eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 10 between State Highway 73 and Farm to Market 365 will likely be closed until Wednesday. The closing of the interstate follows a truck accident involving a hazardous chemical that occurred early yesterday morning.

A tanker truck carrying isobutane collided with a pickup truck at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning on I-10 East near Hamshire Road. Upon collision, the tractor trailer overturned, releasing the toxic chemical. The driver of the tractor trailer, Branden Swiney, 30, suffered leg injuries. The occupants of the pickup, a father and son, were unharmed.

Isobutane is a chemical used in the petrochemical industry as a feedstock. It is highly flammable and corrosive, and the inhalation of large amounts of the chemical can be deadly.

The tanker was carrying 8,500 gallons of isobutane. A hazardous material emergency response company is working to clean up the spill. The cleanup process has been slow and painstaking. Due to holes in the tank and the flammable nature of the chemical, workers have slowly been flaring the remnants.

As of yesterday morning, there were 68 nearby residents waiting at a Red Cross Shelter that was set up in Hamshire Baptist Church on Texas 124.

So far there have been no reported injuries or deaths resulting from the chemical spill.

Westbound traffic on I-10 is being redirected to FM 365 and eastbound traffic is being detoured to State Highway 73. According to Jefferson County Emergency Management Coordinator Greg Fountain, the closure of I-10 following this truck accident will be the longest closure in Southeast Texas in a long time.

Source: Beaumont Enterprise "I-10 near Hamshire closed until Wednesday" 8/30/10

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