5 Dead; 5 Injured; Hundreds Evacuated

(GoRealNewsNow.com) – BREAKING NEWS NOW: A central Illinois semi accident resulted in the death of five individuals, including two children under the age of 12, according to the Effingham County Coroner’s Office. The incident occurred approximately half a mile east of Teutopolis in Effingham County. Teutopolis is situated around 92 miles southeast of Springfield.

The accident involved a semi transporting anhydrous ammonia, which tipped over on Route 40, leading to a chemical leak. This prompted the evacuation of local residents, as reported by the Illinois State Police.

Details from the coroner’s office revealed that among the deceased, three hailed from Teutopolis, one from Ohio, and the last from Missouri. Additionally, five individuals were airlifted to medical facilities for care.

Local authorities have halted traffic in the affected area as teams try to manage the chemical spill. First responders and emergency personnel remain on the scene.

Effingham County Sheriff Paul Kuhns mentioned the creation of a “large plume cloud of anhydrous ammonia on the roadway that caused terribly dangerous air conditions in the northeast area.” Following the incident, an estimated 500 residents within a two-square-mile region on Teutopolis’s east side were evacuated. Current information on when evacuees can return to their residences is unavailable.

Sheriff Kuhns expressed understanding for the inconvenience, stating, “I understand how frustrating that would be to not be allowed to travel or to go back home but we really need to focus our resources on this spill.”

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency provided data that the semi was loaded with around 7,500 gallons of anhydrous ammonia during the crash. It is estimated that 4,000 gallons spilled.

The magnitude of the scene was “large” and “complicated,” as per Sheriff Kuhns. Anhydrous ammonia is known for its toxicity and can pose health threats if mishandled.

The aftermath of the spill remains a concern. Sheriff Kuhns said, “We’re still dealing with the crash and the emergency caused by the anhydrous ammonia spill.” Inhaling this chemical can cause a range of respiratory issues, and it can be fatal at high levels. Moreover, it can cause burns if it comes in contact with skin or eyes. Sheriff Kuhns added, “It’s bad stuff if you breathe it especially because it gets in your airways, in your lungs and it burns.”