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Tanker spill causes closure of Hwy 421 Friday morning

Commuters were thrown into a tailspin Friday morning after discovering the highly traveled State Highway 421 from Mountain City to Boone, North Carolina, was closed to through travel due to a hazardous tanker spill.
According to Johnson County Emergency Management Director Jason Blevins, the road was closed between Bulldog Road in Trade all the way to the North Carolina state line when an accident between two large trucks caused a leakage of liquid nitrogen.
“The accident occurred around 4:30 a.m. on Friday,” said Blevins. “One of the trucks was hauling liquid nitrogen was apparently clipped by another passing tractor-trailer travelling in the opposite lane causing a subsequent leak of approximately 45,000 pounds of the chemical.” According to Blevins, the liquid nitrogen eventually dissolved in the air after first appearing as a plume or white cloud. “An area of 100 yards around the tanker was cleared, and a nearby home was temporarily evacuated as a precaution,” explained Blevins.
In addition to those from the Johnson County Emergency Management Agency, personnel from Trade Volunteer Fire Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Johnson County Sheriff's Department, and response personnel from Watauga County, North Carolina were called to the scene.
A passenger vehicle was also involved in the accident when on of the trucks forced it off the road. The highway was re-opened around 10:30 am and no major injuries were reported.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol was called in to assist and it is not known at this time if any charges were filed.