Hazmat Incident Hospitalizes Michigan Firefighters

BIRCH RUN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – A tanker truck hauling acrylic acid overturned while its driver tried to avoid hitting a fire truck stopped for an earlier car fire, shutting down a stretch of Interstate 75, prompting area evacuations and sending four firefighters to a hospital for evaluation, authorities said.

Authorities were on the scene around 5:30 p.m. Sunday when the tanker flipped while trying to avoid the fire truck on northbound I-75 in Saginaw County’s Birch Run Township, about 70 miles northwest of Detroit, state police and fire officials said.

“The driver stated that he observed the fire truck in the roadway, but felt he was unable to stop before striking the fire truck, so he attempted to swerve off the roadway to the right in an attempt to miss the fire truck,” state police said in a statement.

The tanker leaked some acid, the Birch Run Township fire department said, and the driver and firefighters were taken to a hospital for evaluation because they were exposed to the chemical. All were released from the hospital Sunday.

The driver’s injuries were described as minor, and he was cited in the crash, police said.

An area outlet mall and a movie theater were evacuated as a precaution following the crash, MLive.com reports.

Northbound I-75 remained closed Monday. Southbound I-75 reopened more than 12 hours after the crash.

Midland-based Dow Chemical Co. said the tanker was carrying acrylic acid from one of its facilities to a plant in Midland, and assisted authorities in the response. Another tanker arrived at the scene Monday morning to transfer the acid, WWJ-AM reported.

Dow’s emergency response team “worked closely with third party emergency professionals at the scene,” said Dow spokesman Jeff Martin.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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