Audio from a 911 call made during the recent Brent Spence Bridge hazmat fire has been released, revealing the shaken but helpful nature of the hazmat truck driver involved in the crash.
The accident happened at around 2:45 a.m. on Wednesday, November 11th in the northbound lanes of the Brent Spence Bridge, which carries I-71 and I-75 and connects Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington, Kentucky, over the Ohio River.
In the wreck, the hazmat driver heard in the 911 call crashed into another semi truck that had jackknifed in front of him, setting both rigs ablaze – including 110 pounds of potassium hydroxide.
“Yeah, I’m at the 71, 75 split right on the bridge. My truck’s on fire,” says the driver on the 911 call.
“A truck jackknifed in front of me,” he continued in a report by The Enquirer.
The trucker then further explains the situation to the dispatcher and even offers advice on how fire trucks might best reach the accident with both trucks “blocking up the road.”
“I’ve got hazmat. I couldn’t grab the paperwork to get it out,” the trucker adds, even offering to call the company himself to confirm what type of hazmat he was hauling.
“My truck’s on fire big time. God almighty,” the truck driver concludes.
In another 911 call made about the accident, a woman tells the dispatcher that they are stuck in a big traffic jam, but that they are all trying to back up and off the bridge.
“It’s getting bad,” the woman said. “There’s a whole bunch of us stuck on the bridge. We’re all trying to back up.”
Luckily, she was able to convey the message and traffic was able to back up to the Third Street exit.
Emergency responders say that diesel fuel was the main cause of the fire, which burned for two hours at up to 1,500 degrees.
Because of the serious damage done to the bridge in the fire, Kentucky Governor, Andy Besher, is now predicting that the bridge could remain closed for an extended period of time.
“We are looking at weeks, perhaps more than a month,” Beshear said. “We have repairs that will take weeks to execute.”
Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray adds that officials are working with the trucking community to “get the word out” about the closure and appropriate detours after truck drivers began using the nearby historic Roebling Suspension Bridge, which has a weight limit of only 11 tons, following the Brent Spence Bridge closure.