UPDATE: Tipped ethanol tanker closes Highway 59
MILTON–Police and Fire departments have shut down traffic and are working to stem an active ethanol spill after a tank truck overturned while negotiating a roundabout on Highway 59 east of Milton.
Milton Police Chief Dan Layber said the tank truck was on the way out of the United Ethanol plant at 1050 Chicago St., Milton, and was making a turn around the furthest west of three roundabouts on Highway 59 when at 9:45 a.m. today when it tipped over.
Layber said officials believed the truck's tank, which is filled with ethanol, is leaking five to 10 gallons of ethanol a minute. He said officials believe that the spill is going into a storm sewer and entering a a retention pond near the roundabout.
“I think it's just getting captured into that retention pond, so we should be OK as far as that's concerned," he said.
Milton fire, police, Rock County sheriff’s deputies, Rock County Emergency Management and Department of Natural Resources crews are at the scene.
Layber said that there was an immediate explosion hazard with the truck flipped over on its side and fuel leaking out of it. One reporter on the scene said that he observed police heading to a nearby house to evacuate it.
A Milton firefighter and a Milton Department of Public Works employee pushed back a Gazette reporter who went within 500 feet of the spill. The officials told the reporter the area was considered a “dangerous hot zone.”
Traffic was being shut along Highway 59 from Highway 26 to Vickerman Road, according to officials. Firefighters and police have moved their command post and reporters back several times to keep people at a safe distance from the spill.
Layber said that police don't believe the truck was speeding or driving recklessly at the roundabouts, but he said the accident was still being investigated.
Layber said he was told the driver of the truck was apparently uninjured. He indicated that crews from Rock County and the state department of transportation, fire fighters and police would be working at the scene for several hours.