Posted: Aug 23, 2012 12:57 AM by Trey Schmaltz
Updated: Aug 23, 2012 3:40 AM
Update: 3:38 a.m. - Fire officials say the evacuation and shelter in place have been lifted for residents living around the accident site on I-10 at Essen.
BATON ROUGE- Emergency crews began the process of cleaning up a hazardous materials crash scene on I-10 early Thursday morning.
Around midnight, chemicals were ignited in a controlled burn and venting event- creating a huge fireball.
Homes and a hotel near the scene on I-10 at Essen were evacuated.
The fire was the most dramatic part of a chaotic day where I-10 was closed between Essen and the 10/12 split. The 120,000 daily vehicles which travel that section of highway were forced to use surface streets to get around.
Wednesday morning, two separate crashes happened on I-10 East just east of the 10/12 split.
The first wreck happened when a vehicle hit a second vehicle, then struck the retaining wall on I-10E before flipping onto its top.
The second wreck happened shortly after, when a tanker truck hauling isobutane stopped for the crash and was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler. The impact caused the cargo tank to start leaking the highly flammable chemical onto the roadway.
After the burn Thursday morning, crews will start clearing I-10. But, there's no word on when it will reopen to traffic.
For now, drivers should plan on I-10 being closed.
Stay with WBRZ.com and watch 2une-In beginning at 5 a.m. for updates.
Photo taken by WBRZ photojournalist Troy Gaulden early Thursday morning on I-10