Hazmat Crash Shuts Down I-45, Causes Scare at Hospital

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After a crash on I-45 in Navarro County, Hazmat crews suited up at Baylor Hospital's emergency room in case the man had been exposed to dangerous chemicals. The chemical wasn't dangerous, it was a substance used for water purification. (Published Thursday, Jun 20, 2013)

    Interstate 45 in Navarro County has reopened after being closed for much of Thursday because of a crash that also triggered a hazardous materials scare at a Dallas hospital.

    Both sides of the highway north of state Highway 31 and two miles south of Farm-to-Market Road 1623 were shut down after a tractor-trailer accident.

    The big rig crashed into a highway maintenance truck at about 11:45 a.m. just south of Rice, the Corsicana Daily Sun reported.

    Hazmat crews were called to the scene because emergency crews did not know at first what chemical the truck was carrying. The driver of the 18-wheeler was taken to Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas for treatment.

    Some patients were moved from the emergency room to another location in the hospital because it was not immediately known what type of hazardous material was involved in the crash.

    "When we were initially told it was chemical exposure, the questions is, 'What is the chemical?' Until we completely identify it, we have to prepare that it can be hazardous to anyone who gets near it," said James d'Etienne, the medical director of the emergency room at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.

    The chemical was later determined to be aluminium chlorohydrate, a chemical used in water purification that is not hazardous or dangerous, d'Etienne said.

    The Texas Department of Transportation said the 18-wheeler was traveling northbound on I-45 between Corsicana and Ennis at the time of the crash.

    The northbound lanes of the highway were opened just after 5 p.m. The southbound lanes opened just before 2 p.m.

    NBC 5's Julie Fine contributed to this article.