Northwest Highway in Barrington remains closed to westbound traffic Thursday
A section of Northwest Highway in Barrington remained closed to westbound traffic Thursday after a fiery crash occurred there Tuesday night, police said in a news release.
The after effects of the crash that closed Northwest Highway in Barrington for more than five hours beginning late Tuesday multiplied when officials learned Wednesday afternoon the material was a compound used in making polyurethane and not vegetable oil, as previously thought.
Officials then allowed only one lane of traffic in each direction as they intensified cleanup efforts, and later closed both westbound lanes.
On Thursday morning, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Duty Officer George Krebs told Barrington officials there was "no risk to public drinking water supply, to area surface water, or to the public. The impact has not migrated outside the containment zone. There is no immediate risk, no warnings, and no advisories."
In addition to the collision site in Barrington, the area in Crystal Lake where both the semi trailer and pickup truck were towed after the crash is also closed for cleanup.
Eastgate Road in Crystal Lake is closed until further notice between Factory Road and Commercial Road.
Both damaged vehicles were towed to Whitey's Towing at 710 Eastgate Road. That business and two other nearby buildings at 6096 Commercial Street and 6105 Factory Road are also closed until remediation of the secondary cleanup site is complete.
Just before afternoon rush hour Wednesday, westbound Northwest Highway was completely shut down by the cleanup.
Northwest Highway westbound traffic is being rerouted northbound on Hart Road to Cuba Road during the lane closures, police said.
Two people were injured when a semitrailer truck carrying 3,000 pounds of a compound used in the production of polyurethane rear-ended a pickup truck at 11:29 p.m. in the westbound lanes at Northwest Highway's intersection with Hart Road, Barrington Assistant Police Chief John Burke said.
Several explosions occurred and heavy fire engulfed the trailer of the semi. The fire was brought under control in 35 minutes, Burke said.
The compound was originally reported as vegetable oil by the truck driver.
The company the driver worked for later informed the village of the true nature of the spilled substance, Barrington spokeswoman Patty Dowd Schmitz said.
The compound -- called methylene diphenyl diisocycanate -- is best characterized as an allergen and irritant rather than a more toxic substance,
However, it did require a more intense cleanup than vegetable oil, Schmitz said.
However, crews reported that the day's strong winds assisted in dissipating the substance.
There is no immediate threat to public or the area's water, authorities said.
The driver, 35, and passenger, 49, of the pickup were taken to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Lake Barrington with injuries that were not life-threatening, Burke said.
Their injuries were a result of the collision, not the fire, and they were released Wednesday morning after treatment, he said.
The driver of the semi truck was treated at the scene and released, Burke said.
He was issued a citation for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, police said.
Schmitz said it was undetermined whether the village would pursue any action regarding the initial misinformation about the nature of the leaked chemical.
The fire was extinguished by the Barrington Fire Department, with assistance from the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District, Lake Zurich Fire Department, Palatine Rural Fire Protection District, and the Fox River Grove Fire Protection District.