Driving home the importance of proper hazardous materials safety, today a 150 car pile-up near Kalamazoo, Michigan unexpectedly became a hazmat emergency requiring evacuations when a trailer carrying formic acid spilled onto the highway, and another truck laden with over 40,000 pounds of fireworks also exploded.
According to Reuters, the evacuation order was lifted when the formic acid burned off, as confirmed by a police spokesperson at the scene. However, Highway I-94 was completely closed in both directions, and officials confirmed it would remain closed for at least 12 hours.
At least one person died, at least 23 people were injured, and six vehicles were set on fire in the wreck. Nearby schools and colleges — including Kalamazoo College, Grand Valley State, and Grand Rapids Community College — cancelled classes for the day.
The cause of the crash hasn’t been determined, but the conditions included snow and ice, with a windchill of minus 3 degrees. Accidents of this magnitude go to show the importance of being prepared for winter weather conditions and always taking care to expect the unexpected when dealing with hazardous materials!