LIBERTY CO., GA (WTOC) - Residents in Allenhurst have been given the okay to leave their homes after a big turpentine spill Wednesday afternoon.
It happened around noon at mile marker 2 near Highway 84, closing Hwy 84 in both directions. Officials say a concrete truck rear-ended a tanker truck carrying roughly 4,000 gallons of turpentine.
Residents near the area who were not evacuated were asked to shelter in place.
Walthourville firefighters arrived at the scene and immediately jumped into action when they saw turpentine leaking from the semi. Neither driver had serious injuries, so the focus turned to keeping the liquid from spreading.
"We got overwhelmed pretty quickly," said Anthony Burns, Walthourville Fire Department. "We had to switch gears and adapt and overcome. EMA responded, City of Hinesville Fire Department responded with an engine to assist in the effort with the diking, damming, and diverting, and that was successful, thankfully. We were able to contain the hazard to the area we had it in."
People living nearby were evacuated because of the fumes from the turpentine, and anyone living within a mile radius is encouraged to stay inside.
The mayor of Allenhurst says the big issue later was the impact on travel.
"The major problem with the accident at this time of the day that's taking so long to get it cleaned up is traffic. This is a major thoroughfare, we are getting ready to hit our rush-hour and so it's a pretty major upset in traffic flow right now," said Mayor Thomas Hines.
Liberty County deputies were posted up at both ends of the crash scene, diverting traffic onto side streets. The scene has been cleared and the area is back open.
GSP, Liberty Emergency Management, DOT, Walthourville FD and PD, Liberty SO, Motor Carrier Compliance Division all responded to the scene.
Turpentine is oil distilled from the resin of trees -- usually pine trees -- that is frequently used on oil-base paints and varnishes.
When inhaled, the vapor from turpentine can damage to skin, eyes, lungs, the respiratory system and the central nervous system. It is also combustible.