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Gurnee Drivers Breathe Easier: All Okay After Oxygen Truck Crash

Posted on Feb 26, 2012

A Milwaukee truck accident shut down multiple lanes of I-94, after dozens of canisters of liquid oxygen spilled onto the freeway. According to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, the 46-year-old truck driver encountered trouble due to slowing traffic. When he slowed his truck, the load shifted suddenly. The momentum ultimately flipped the truck onto its side. The truck slid 20 yards and hit a light pole. About 100 canisters of liquefied gases escaped and spilled into the lanes.

Some canisters containing liquid oxygen leaked. While liquid oxygen is not flammable itself, even normally fireproof materials — such as road asphalt — can become highly flammable when enveloped in pure oxygen. Thus, the release of the canisters was a particularly scary and dangerous situation. A spark near the leaking oxygen canisters could have triggered a firestorm and caused multiple fatalities. Fortunately, the Milwaukee Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Unit contained the disaster.

Traffic was halted for about 45 minutes. The truck driver received a ticket for failure to control his vehicle

A “near-miss” catastrophic Milwaukee truck accident

This truck accident did not get much play in the national news. But had one small thing gone slightly more wrong, the disaster would have been an epic catastrophe. In this situation, safety measures worked. The oxygen canisters, for the most part, survived the crash intact. The police response was swift enough to prevent additional accidents. The Hazardous Materials Unit did its job effectively. No doubt, good luck also played a role. 

The staff and motor vehicle accident lawyers at the Gurnee office of Hupy and Abraham salute the emergency responders of Wisconsin, whose swift and efficient action averted a true disaster. We would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone traveling I-94 between Chicago and Milwaukee that road safety should be a top concern.

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