Icy conditions on Tuesday resulted in numerous traffic accidents, including a jackknifed 18-wheeler carrying acid and chemicals on Old Fort Mountain.
On Tuesday, a Winter Storm Warning was put into effect for most of Western NC, including the McDowell Mountains, to begin at 3 p.m. that afternoon. The National Weather Service of Greenville-Spartanburg advised that total sleet and snow accumulations of up to 3 inches and ice accumulations of one tenth to three tenths of an inch were to be expected, with the warning in effect until 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Among the 13 reported traffic-related incidents on Tuesday, of which mostly occurred on Interstate 40 in Old Fort, include an 18-wheeler that jackknifed traveling eastbound on I-40 near the Buncombe/McDowell line.
At approximately 9:21 p.m., emergency units were dispatched to the interstate near the 66 mile marker after receiving reports of a motor vehicle wreck involving a tractor trailer. According to Emergency Services Director William Kehler, the vehicle was carrying two types of acid and several containers of non-regulated material.
Upon arrival of emergency personnel, a fuel leak was noted as well as an unknown substance leaking from the rear of the trailer. Hazmat specialists from the Regional Hazmat Team, housed at the Asheville Fire Department, were called to the scene to assist local responders.
As a result, eastbound traffic on I-40 at the 68 mile marker in McDowell was shut down for over two hours until the cargo trailer was deemed safe and the incident was stabilized. A private contractor was called to the scene to perform cleanup operations.
No injuries were reported in this incident.
Old Fort Fire Department, Black Mountain Fire Department, Black Mountain Police Department, McDowell Emergency Management, NC Emergency Management, NC Highway Patrol, NC DOT and IMAP were dispatched to the wreck.