18-Wheeler Spills Hazardous Chemicals on Texas 36

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Texas 36 was turned into one hazardous highway Tuesday afternoon after an 18-wheeler carrying thousands of gallons of Methanol overturned.

It was just after 1:30 p.m. when the driver of a big-rig drifted from his lane, then over-corrected that mistake.

The highway did not reopen until 12:05 a.m., Wednesday.

The accident struck a hole in the tanker, leaking about 2,500 gallons of methanol onto the roadway in Burleson County.

At first report, authorities believed the tractor trailer was carrying nearly 75,000 gallons of the chemical. Later, troopers determined it was closer to 5,000.

The spill managed to find its way into Ryan Creek, which kept hazmat and environmental crews working long into the night.

"The methanol that was released is heavier than water so it sinks, so it will separate and they will clean that up," Department of Public Safety Trooper Michael Monaghan said. "We've got TxDOT out with backhoes so they can dam up the creek if necessary.

Emergency crews were quick to act, shutting down not only area roads, but alerting nearby residents to stay out of their homes.

"We evacuated residents, moved all emergency personnel back for safety precautions to make sure before anyone went down to the site they had the respirators on to prevent and inhalation issue," Monaghan said.

In all, emergency officials say about 10 to 20 residents were temporarily displaced out of their homes. However, officials say all but a few had returned by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Authorities say all the steps taken by emergency crews were necessary for the afternoon spill, which could have been much worse.