POSTED: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 6:55pm
UPDATED: Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 9:51pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — It has been a year since I-10 was shut down due to a wreck involving an 18-wheeler carrying nearly 9,000 tons of isobutane.
You'll recall, businesses and homes nearby had to be evacuated while Hazmat crews used a controlled explosion to dispose of the hazardous chemical. State Police said it was the first time Baton Rouge had seen an accident of that magnitude, and they hope it never happens again. However, there were some lessons learned.
State Police said the accident taught the importance of good communication. Over 120,000 drivers drive down I-10 daily, and that crash caused a 26-hour nightmare.
Erin Keys has lived in Baton Rouge for 5 years, and Keys said she was not in the traffic that stemmed from the crash, but she remembers it.
"I'm sure they'd be able to handle the situation, I just think they need to come up with a better way to deal with the traffic," Keys said. "One of my best friends used to work over there. She used to have to walk and get lunch and stuff like that because the traffic was so bad that she couldn't leave in her car. It was a pretty bad accident, and probably really scary to be around."
I-10 was shut down for 26 hours which caused gridlock all over Baton Rouge, but now State Trooper Jared Sandifer told me state police will be better prepared if something like this were to happen now.
"It definitely made us aware that something like this can happen. It's something that we don't ever want to see happen in our community, but like I said, it's a learning experience. We'll take what we learn and I'll be better prepared to deal with it in the future," Sandifer said. "This was definitely a learning experience, not just for State Police, but for other agencies as well."
Sandifer said state police worked with East Baton Rouge Sheriff, Baton Rouge City, local fire departments, and other agencies to get everything under control.
"Our Hazmat team had to come up with a plan quickly on how to deal with this in order to alleviate the situation to make sure that people in the community were safe and also to alleviate the traffic problem that came as a result of this," Sandifer said.
Everyone was safe, and that was their main goal.
"We learned that anything like this can happen at any time. Even in Baton Rouge, in the middle of a busy city," Sandifer said. "We learned to work together in order to control the situation and make sure that people in Baton Rouge are safe."
Trooper Sandifer said the crash was one-of-a-kind. However, if something similar happens again, they'll work quickly to set up detour routes to help keep traffic moving.