FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Ever so gently, 24 compressed hydrogen cylinders are carefully removed from an overturned tractor trailer on the Coconut Creek exit of the Turnpike. HazMat crews gingerly unloaded them — worried they could be leaking — and they were right.
“One of the hydrogen cylinders was in fact leaking,” said Mike Jachles from Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue. “This was at the bottom of the pile of the overturned cylinders.”
The turnpike was shut down around 8:30 in the morning when this happened — between Sample and Atlantic, backing up traffic for miles. “Horrible! Horrible! one driver yelled out her window after being forced to exit the Turnpike. “I hate traffic!”
For people driving south bound it was a nightmare because it was closed for more than six hours.
“[It’s] very frustrating,” said Rick Party, “because I have to be at my place of employment at 3 o’clock and now I have to figure out how to get to it.”
While drivers were diverted, hazardous materials crews had to cut open that trailer to pull those canisters out — along with several barrels of chemicals. It was a combination that could have been extremely dangerous. “This load of the cylinders and the drums was all toppled together,” explained Jachles, “much like a game of hazardous pick up sticks.”
The turnpike reopened after 3 — getting drivers moving once again.
As for the cause, FHP believes the driver took the curve a bit too fast. “The driver’s been cited for speeding too fast for conditions,” said Sgt. Mark Wysocky with the Florida Highway Patrol. “He was not injured.”