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Locals evacuated after hazmat spill in Tennessee

Locals evacuated after hazmat spill in Tennessee
A tractor-trailer has overturned on the I-24 highway outside Murfreesboro, Tennessee, creating a hazmat situation. Emergency services have told people to stay indoors and close all windows and vents, but later began evacuations.

The incident was reported by local media just after 3am Wednesday, as plumes of black smoke rose over the affected area, leading authorities to instigate the order of shelter-in-place.

Nashville's WTVF (Channel 5) reports the hazardous material to be be chlorine, a poisonous gas which can be deadly in large concentrations, and is also the most widely used disinfectant in wastewater treatment.

At least one of the semis was reportedly carrying the material.

The highway was promptly sealed off, and will remain so until at least 6am local time.

But new estimates from WTVF over Twitter indicate that the closure is likely to last until 8am local time.

The plume of potentially-hazardous smoke extends up to one mile from the crash on the I-24, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

The highway remains sealed off as smoke billows across the nearby Buchanan Estates neighborhood.

Vehicles filmed by Channel 5 were seen in a long tailback on Interstate-24. Drivers have been there since the early hours of the morning and have only now begun slowly to reverse down the highway one-by-one, under the guidance of police.

According to the news channel, 75 homes have now been evacuated. There are no fatalities reported from the crash.

The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation shelter for those in need.