Fiery tanker crash like scene from 'The Expendables' - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Fiery tanker crash like scene from 'The Expendables'

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - I-10 reopened over 24 hours after being closed due to a multi-vehicle crash involving a tanker truck leaking a flammable liquid.

I-10 East reopened around 6:45 a.m. I-10 West reopened earlier around 6 a.m. Essen Lane is also open.

Crews performed a "vent and burn" technique late Wednesday night in order to stop the leak from a damaged tanker on I-10.

"This team came together, vetted every possible avenue to get this done," said Mayor Kip Holden. "They laid plans out and thank God the plan worked perfectly and thank God we have the quality of people and the capability right here in Baton Rouge."

The Louisiana State Police said the coordinated explosion around 11:45 p.m. successfully burned off the isobutane leaking from the truck.

"Watching that, you're certainly hoping for the best, but we prepared for the worst," said Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of Louisiana State Police. "We moved people from homes and public safety was the number one priority."

Firefighters on the scene were able to get the flames under control around 1:30 a.m.

"We need to make sure the integrity of the interstate is in tact. We went through a lot of precaution of putting steel under, putting dirt and capturing and pulling some of the material. That's what's being looked at right now," Edmonson added.

The Baton Rouge Police Department is handling the investigation into the accident that caused the giant mess on the interstate. Officers said they are in the early stages of trying to figure out exactly what happened.

The "shelter in place" in the area was lifted just before 1 a.m., while the evacuation was lifted around 3:15 a.m.

The accident happened on I-10 East at Essen when a car flipped on the interstate Wednesday around 3:45 a.m. A tanker truck stopped for the accident and was rear-ended by another 18-wheeler. That truck was hauling beer.

The tanker was carrying isobutane, which is similar to the propane used for barbecue grills. It is an extremely flammable gas. The wreck caused a leak. A hazardous materials crew was called to the scene, as well as the Department of Environmental Quality and other experts related to this incident.

The tanker was hauling about 9,000 gallons of isobutane. The valves normally used to transfer the isobutane from the tanker to another were damaged in the crash, which prevented crews from being off-loaded.

The shutdown of I-10 in both directions caused a traffic nightmare for drivers throughout the Baton Rouge area Wednesday. Many were stuck on the roads for hours trying to reach their destinations.

Once again, talk about a loop for the city surfaced from some of those drivers who think it would have helped with the traffic situation. Officials responded to questions about that.

"I think we need to analyze everything. Everything should be on the table and look at whether or not there's some other ways to lessen the impact on people," Holden explained.

"Any infrastructure improvements help more traffic in and around an area like this," added Sherri Lebas, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. "It helps move traffic."

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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