ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - A road that had been closed for nearly 24 hours was reopened early Friday morning after a tanker truck carrying thousands of gallons of ethanol ran off the road and overturned Thursday morning.
The driver was killed in the crash.
Authorities closed Bringle Ferry Road near Panther's Point Road around 6:45 a.m. Thursday after the crash and the road was officially reopened around 1:30 a.m. Friday.
IMAGES: Tanker carrying ethanol overturns, killing driver
Emergency workers spent hours Thursday cleaning ethanol off of the road.
"Ethanol is an alcohol based chemical. It's very flammable. That's our biggest concern at this point,” said Frank Thomason, Rowan County Emergency Services chief.
Chopper 9 flew overhead as more than a dozen agencies worked to evacuate three nearby homes. Workers removed the rest of the ethanol from the truck and called in a clean-up team to scour the road.
Investigators said the fuel tanker belongs to a company called Ecosystems based in Tennessee. It had just left a fueling station in Denton before the crash.
Officials told Channel 9 the driver, James Richard Sechler, 62, of Mooresville, was killed. Crews had a difficult time reaching him due to the fire risk. Fire crews placed a foam agent around the truck to negate that risk.
The truck was the only vehicle involved in the accident.
The tanker was traveling east on Bringles Ferry Road when it ran off the right side of the road and then flipped, according to the Highway Patrol.
There were no skid marks on the road and no indication Sechler tried to overcorrect, troopers said.
A Charlotte-based remediation company was still at the scene of the crash Friday afternoon, removing contaminated soil.
Channel 9 was told that process could take days.
Three families were evacuated as emergency workers spent more than 19 hours removing the rest of the highly flammable ethanol from the truck and the roadway.
Officials told Channel 9 that two of the families are still evacuated and emergency workers said ethanol flowed into their back yards and may have impacted well water behind one of the homes.
The remediation crew will be on scene for days testing and removing contaminated soil. Workers will also test the well water behind the homes to make sure it is safe.
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