PANOLA CO, MS (WMC) - Two officers were injured after a truck exploded in Batesville, Mississippi.
According to Sheriff Dennis Darby, a truck carrying sulfur crashed into a car on Interstate 55 near Pine Lodge Road. As officers attempted to pull the driver out of the truck, an explosion occurred.
Darby said the truck was carrying about 25,000 pounds of sulfur, which had officers waiting for hazmat officials to assist, as sulfur is hazardous if inhaled.
Darby said the deputies were burned on their arms while pulling the driver out of the truck. Both were taken to the ICU at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford, and both are expected to be OK.
The driver, however, was severely burned. He was flown to the hospital in Memphis in critical condition.
Northbound traffic remains shut down in the area, and hazmat crews are still cleaning hours later. Southbound lanes are now open.
Drivers said it's been a traffic nightmare.
"Just the chaos of not being able to drive through there, I couldn't get back through there," Batesville resident Davon Ellis said. "They had the road blocked off, you had to go all the way down 51 and then when I come back down 51, all the traffic was from the interstate."
Officers said they're working to get the roads clear sooner rather than later.
Batesville Police Department said everyone within a half mile radius of where the explosion happened was evacuated.
However, that evacuation was lifted.
Tracy Goforth's home is within a one-mile radius of the fiery accident on I-55.
"It was, you know, alarming at first to know that your residence was that close," Goforth said.
She got a call from Panola County Emergency officials telling her she needed to get to safety.
"Asked to evacuate, I didn't answer the call, it looked like an 800 number, and they left a voicemail and said to evacuate your residence--you're within a half mile of an emergency on I-55," Goforth said.
Nathan Davis and his family live a few streets away from I-55. They decided to evacuate just to be safe.
"We went to McDonald's and just got food and ate there," Davis said.
But the traffic on the way was something Davis said he's never experienced.
"When we were headed to McDonald's, it was busy getting there because traffic getting off the interstate," Davis said.