Tanker wreckage removed from highway. I-70 reopened

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Interstate 70 reopened early Saturday morning, after it was shut down by tanker crash for nearly 24 hours.

Both directions of the interstate were closed a few minutes before 5 a.m. Friday, after a tanker truck tipped over and caught fire just east of downtown Kansas City, sparking several explosions.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO from the scene http://bit.ly/12w1u9T

41 Action News Reporter Sarah Hollenbeck was in the area just moments after the fire started, arriving before firefighters.

Emergency crews arrived minutes later to the eastbound lanes of I-70 in between Manchester Trafficway and I-435.

Sarah says she heard several explosions, as many as 10 or 15, coming from the burning truck and saw flames shooting at least 50 to 100 feet into the air.

Authorities were holding her and other members of the media back as they were concerned about additional explosions.

The fire was mostly out about a half-hour later, but smoke continued to billow from the smoldered truck for at least another 30 minutes.

The driver of the truck and a second person inside were not seriously injured, though they was transported non-emergency to an area hospital. The driver told police they were able to jump from the truck as it hit an embankment and tipped over.

A spokeswoman with the American Medical Response said one of their ambulances was driving in the area moments after the crash and picked up the driver and passenger. As they drove away, the spokeswoman said, several explosions could be heard.

 

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Kansas City Fire Chief James Garret said the truck was carrying three kinds of liquids in three separate tanks.

The tank that burst and spilled was propyl acetate, a flammable but not toxic liquid. The liquids in the containers that did not burst were dipropylene glycol and an undetermined alcohol-based fluid.

The propyl acetate leaked after its tank burst, adding fuel to the fire and likely providing an ignition for the explosions.

The EPA must assess the scene and be sure no hazardous materials remain in the area before local authorities can reopen the highway.

Authorities didn't expect to have lanes open until at least 8 p.m., the Missouri Department of Transportation said in a statement.

Fans coming to tonight's Kansas City Royals game at Kauffman Stadium from the west should consider alternate routes, MoDOT warns. Those coming from the east on westbound I-70 may also want to consider exiting sooner onto Route 40 and entering the sports complex from other routes.

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