Cleanup continues, highway stays closed after lethal pileup involving dozens of autos on I-81

FOSTER TWP., Pa. – The northbound lanes of Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County have been lastly reopened round 1 a.m. Wednesday, after crews cleared the world of a 50-vehicle pileup that happened Monday morning throughout a snow squall.

69 Information confirmed at the least 5 individuals died in that crash.

In line with Schuylkill County Emergency Supervisor John Matz, it might have been lots worse.

One of many tractor-trailers concerned within the crash was carrying a number of containers of a flammable gasoline known as acetylene. If the fireplace that burned a number of vans within the crash had ignited that gasoline, Matz stated it might have been a a lot larger catastrophe.

“Acetylene is a flammable gasoline, and there’s a complete truck down there with acetylene cylinders on it,” Matz stated on Tuesday. “Now thankfully that was not impacted by the fires of yesterday.”

Matz stated he hasn’t seen a crash this unhealthy in a very long time.

“So far as accidents on the interstate go, that is in all probability one of many extra extreme situations that we have had within the final 15 years,” he stated.

As of Tuesday, any fires brought on by the crash had been put out. After towing away all of the wrecked autos, Matz stated crews would nonetheless should do work earlier than the highway might reopen.

“There was a big quantity of gas oil. Firefighting foam was used, so PennDOT is bringing in a milling machine,” he stated. “They’re really going to mill a part of the freeway due to the quantity of product on it.”

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Matz stated that product would not simply pose a site visitors danger. He stated it leaked into the soil and will pose a priority for the Blythe Township consuming water reservoir close by.

“They are going to be monitoring their intakes simply to make sure that no contaminants migrate down into their water supply,” he stated.

Matz additionally stated Tuesday that the Pennsylvania Division of Environmental Safety would even be on scene to doc any harm to surrounding soil and groundwater.

Fifteen people concerned within the crash have been put up in short-term housing in a single day, he stated, and extra companies can be found in the event that they want them.

“Within the occasion that one thing would come up they usually want an additional evening of lodging, they’ll at the least name the Purple Cross and say, ‘Hey, we want a spot to remain,'” Matz defined.

Presently, we’re nonetheless working to be taught the names of the 5 individuals confirmed killed within the crash.