Overturned truck blocks interstate, one injured

From Staff Reports

   A tractor trailer containing hazardous chemicals overturned on U.S. Highway 19/23 in Madison County, N.C. late Monday afternoon, leaving the driver injured and the interstate blocked, according to Madison County emergency officials.
   The tractor trailer overturned at approximately 4:45 p.m. on the North Carolina side of Sam's Gap on U.S. Highway 19/23, said Madison County 911 Dispatcher Teresa Kirkpatrick.
   Because the tractor trailer carried approximately 7,000 pounds of propionic acid, a hazmat team from North Carolina and Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport responded to the cleanup, which involved evacuating a 300-foot perimeter around the wreck.
   According to officials, the driver, whose name had not yet been released, was taken to Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville. The nature of the driver's injuries was also unknown.
   Propionic acid is a colorless, pungent liquid that is corrosive to the skin and eyes. Contact with the chemical may result in severe irritation or burns. Inhalation of vapors may irritate the respiratory tract. It is used in the production of plastics, dye intermediates, textile and rubber auxiliaries, perfumes, cosmetics, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.
   It is neither explosive nor spontaneously flammable in air, but it is flammable if ignited.