Posted at: 08/16/2013 9:11 AM
Updated at: 08/16/2013 5:21 PM
By: Travis Dill
A tanker truck carrying explosives rolled onto its side near Hibbing, and authorities spent six hours dealing with the dangerous situation on Friday.
The truck rolled at the entrance to Hibbing Taconite along Highway 5 around 8 a.m. on Friday. The driver was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries, but the load in the tanker caused a large emergency response.
The tanker was carrying about 40,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, an explosive used for blasting at Hibbing Taconite. Authorities diverted traffic half a mile from the crash site because of the potential danger.
The tanker contained the explosives despite the rollover according to Hibbing Fire Chief Scott Nehiba.
“No product has leaked up to this point. There have been fluids that leaked out of the truck, diesel fuel, motor oil and that type of thing. We have made every effort to contain those,” Nehiba said.
He said the crash happened nearly two miles from Hibbing Taconite. A company spokesperson said no employees were affected and production continued normally.
Nehiba said the situation could have been much worse.
“I think we're very fortunate. Ammonium nitrate is very stable, but if there would have been some kind of fire at the scene it would have been a lot worse,” Nehiba said.
He said that could have lead to a large explosion.
“There probably wouldn't be any of the truck left and there'd be a crater,” Nehiba said.
Another tanker safely removed the explosives from the scene around 2 p.m. on Friday, and tow trucks carrying the damaged vehicle followed shortly after. Highway 5 was reopened Friday afternoon.
The St. Louis County Sheriff's office said no cause for the crash has been determined, and they will continue to investigate the incident.