All lanes of I-65 reopen near Seymour after fiery crash

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I65 reopens after day long closure
Crash closes southbound I65 lanes
Crash closes I65 near Seymour
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SEYMOUR, Ind. (WTHR) - State police said the southbound lanes of Interstate 65 reopened just after 9:00 pm Wednesday following a crash and subsequent fire that closed the highway for hours.

A state police officer said temporary repairs were made to the damaged road surface, enabling traffic to resume.


An INDOT spokesperson told Eyewitness News that permanent repairs to the highway were planned for Thursday, assuming materials were available.

"All of the items we need are in place to do the repairs, but we have to see if we can get hot-mix from a source in Louisville or Indianapolis. We would like to get it done before the weather arrives," referring to snow expected in the area early Friday.

In a report issued late Wednesday, ISP said that one of the vehicles involved was hauling hazardous chemicals, including a non-flammable gas, two corrosive liquids, a caustic acid and an oxidizing solid. During the crash, some of the containers ruptured, causing chemicals to spill inside the trailer and then onto the road. Eventually, a chemical reaction led to a fire that burned for more than four hours.

Residents within a one-half mile radius of the incident were evacuated. A vehicle belonging to Indiana Spill Response was destroyed in the fire.

A passenger in one of the trucks was transported to a Scott County hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening. No one else was hurt.

EARLIER STORY:

Interstate 65 south remains closed near Seymour due to a fiery crash.

Northbound traffic was moving again by 6 p.m. Wednesday, though the southbound lanes of the interstate remained closed and could be into Thursday.

That means traffic has to get off the highway in Seymour and follow a slow detour around the mess.


State Police originally responded to a crash involving three semis around 6 a.m. Wednesday. The crash is on I-65 near the 43 mile marker.

A semi driver was not paying attention and hit the rear of a second semi, which caused the second semi to hit a third, according to State Police Sgt. Stephen Wheeles. One passenger was injured but is expected to be okay.

Crews cleared away two of the wrecked trucks, but when they got inside another trailer, they found volatile chemicals leaking, mixing, heating up and smoking.

They backed off, shut down the interstate and evacuated homes within a half-mile, deciding it was best to let the fire burn itself out.

Once the scene is safe, crews will remove the wreckage and clean up any spilled chemicals. But that will take some time. Once the road is cleaned up, it is probably going to need some repairs.

"We do have a great concern of what that road looks like. A hot chemical burning on asphalt is going to do some damage," Wheeles said. "It's something where we can possibly open one lane of traffic and let traffic go in that one lane while crews are going to have to work a long time on that other lane."

Until that happens, travelers are facing a massive backup. It took an Eyewitness News crew about two hours to travel two hours to get close to the scene. If you are driving south of Columbus Wednesday night or Thursday, check ahead and plan to find another way around the backup.

No serious injuries have been reported.