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Fire on Chemical Truck Shutdown I-24 and Evacuations took place near the scene in East Ridge

At 9:09 PM ET on Thursday (8/3/23), Fire, EMS, and law enforcement agencies responded to 482 McBrien Road near the RAVE Theatre just off I-24. A tractor-trailer hauling organic peroxide and sodium hydroxide was on fire, sparking a major hazmat response.

In addition to the burning semi-trailer, the liquid chemicals the truck was hauling were also on fire in the parking lot. Firefighting operations got underway, and once first responders learned what products they were dealing with, evacuations of surrounding homes and businesses began. Due to the fire, a mandatory evacuation was ordered for the residents within a half-mile radius of the fire’s location. When organic peroxide and sodium hydroxide burn, they release vapors that could be harmful and could cause skin irritation and respiratory issues.

A crash truck from the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport responded to the scene with a piercing nozzle that punctured the trailer and injected foam into the truck to knock the fire down. In addition, TDOT brought 80 tons of dirt to stop any runoff as officials continue working to address environmental concerns. The EPA is headed to the scene to oversee the cleanup process.

I-24 was closed in both directions from the I-24/I-75 split to the North Germantown exit.

The incident command deemed the scene safe at 4:52 AM ET Friday morning. Interstate 24 was reopened, and families were able to return to their homes. South Terrace between McBrien Road and Spring Creek Road will remain closed. The shopping center will also be closed, and cleanup at the site will be ongoing for several days.