NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Environmental crews continued to clean up the huge hazardous mess left behind after a tanker truck exploded in West Nashville Thursday.
Centennial Boulevard will remain blocked for a couple of days between 57th Avenue North to 61st Avenue North as crews work to clean up and repair the roadway. The fire basically disintegrated the road where the tanker flipped and caught on fire Wednesday afternoon.
Crews remained on scene throughout the night as they worked to clean up after approximately 8,500 gallons of gas and diesel fuel spilled. They were using backhoes and other equipment to draw out the remaining fuel in a nearby ditch.
Wednesday night, a hazardous materials crew was able to contain fuel from the truck that had gotten into the storm sewer system, which empties into near-by Richland Creek.
"First responders were able to get absorbent booms in place before the petroleum reached Richland Creek. Primary and secondary containment are in place, as of earlier this evening," said Sonia Harvat, spokeswoman for Metro Water Services.
On Thursday, Shield Environmental Associates out of Lexington, Kentucky was hired by Tri-Star Transport to lead the cleanup efforts.
Charles Phillips with Shield Environmental Associates said they're monitoring for explosive levels and they've stopped any free product flow into Richland Creek, while dredging nearby storm drains and vacuuming up any leftover fuel.
"We've installed underflow dams to prevent any flow of water in these ditch lines in the creek and were actually sucking the water up into these trucks and transporting it to a disposal facility," said Phillips.
The fuel ran into the sewers, causing a remnant effect where fumes caused nearby manholes to explode and catch fire.
Black smoke could be seen for miles from the scene on Centennial Boulevard near 61st Avenue North in west Nashville when the fire broke out around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The tanker was driving down Centennial Boulevard when witnesses said it took a corner too quickly and overturned.
The driver of the tanker, identified as Jason Frizzell of Cookeville, was able to get out of the truck before it caught fire. He was taken to the hospital with a non-life threatening shoulder injury, but was expected to be okay.
Frizzell was driving the tanker truck for Tri-Star Transport.
The 33-year-old has since been discharged from the hospital and was said to be recovering at home.
Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration showed Tri-Star has had seven crashes in the last two years and one even spawned a lawsuit.
A company spokesman told NewsChannel 5 they are still reviewing the crash and crews would remain onsite until the cleanup is complete. On Thursday, the company released a state that read, in part:
"We continue to be concerned about the surrounding neighborhood and will diligently support the cleanup process. We are cooperating fully with all local, state and federal agencies.
We are extremely thankful that there were no serious injuries to our driver, the first responders, the clean-up crews and the neighbors in the area. Tri Star Transport is committed to operating in a safe and environmentally responsible manner."