Explosive materials cleaned up; Pitt County highway expected to soon reopen

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – Explosive materials have been cleaned up from a Pitt County highway after a tanker truck flipped over this morning.

Five homes were evacuated and Highway 222, west of Fountain, has been closed because of the crash.

The 18-wheeler was carrying ammonium nitrate, chemicals used in explosions at sites like rock quarries. Pitt County Emergency Services says each chemical was separated within the truck.

Leaks from the tanker were stopped, according to Deputy Emergency Management Deputy Director James McArthur. This afternoon, the tanker was uprighted and Pitt County says the hazardous material has been removed from the site.

“It is a rural part of Pitt County. There isn’t a lot heavy population and it isn’t a heavily traveled road,” says McArthur. “222 is one of our larger highways but with the time of day it did not present a significant threat to the community.”

Troopers say William Hernan, of Clinton, was traveling east when he lost control of his truck around 7:00 a.m., overturned, and spilled the chemicals he was hauling.

The section of highway that is closed is between Dunn Road and Highway 258. The Highway Patrol says it will be closed until further notice.

The 31-year-old Hernan was taken to ECU Health Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

County officials say there is no immediate threat to public safety or wildlife and no serious injuries.