At least five people were killed in a multi-vehicle accident involving a semi-truck carrying hazardous chemicals in Teutopolis, Illinois, on Friday (September 29) night. Two of the victims were children.
Five others, including the driver of the semi-truck, were hospitalized with injuries due to the crash.
Authorities ordered residents within a one-mile radius of the crash to evacuate because the accident caused anhydrous ammonia to leak out of the truck.
Anhydrous ammonia is a highly pure form of ammonia and can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and respiratory tract. A high level of exposure can cause permanent lung damage and, in some cases, be fatal.
"Due to the plume from the ammonia leak, people within an approximate one-mile radius of the crash on U.S. Highway 40, including northeastern parts of Teutopolis, have been evacuated," the Illinois State Police said in a statement.
Officials expect the evacuation order to last through Sunday as hazmat crews work to clean up the leak.
The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a 15-person team to the scene of the crash to lead the investigation.