RIDGEWAY, S.C. — Early Thursday morning, a crash on Interstate 77 left one person dead. The collision caused a container truck carrying ammonia sulfate to rupture on the roadway.
The chemical spill resulted in a shelter-in-place order for residents in Ridgeway.
Deborah Barnett was on her way to Myrtle Beach around 9 a.m. Thursday when she reached the traffic jam.
Her plans for vacation had to take a detour.
“They took us off at HWY 34 and so we said we might as well stop and have breakfast and then try to get back on," Barnett said.
A stretch of I-77 between the towns of Blythewood and Ridgeway was shut down for more than four hours. A truck carrying hazardous chemicals crashed and caught fire leaving the hours-long shut down on the interstate.
Barnett says she thought there was something else happening.
“Actually looking at it I thought, I have been on the highway when the president or vice president comes to town and they shut everything down like this. So, I thought maybe that was happening," she said.
Madeline and Clayton were headed on a 10-hour trip to Florida when they reached the stopping point at exit 34 on I-77.
“Well it was, everyone was stopped and then as we got closer to I guess the scene we saw a bunch of people picking up debris, lots of cop cars. Didn’t know what was going on," they said.
The concerns over possible health hazards led county and town officials near Ridgeway to issue a shelter-in-place order. That order didn't get lifted until just before noon Thursday.
Charlene Herring is a resident of Ridgeway and she got a reverse 911 call from Fairfield County officials. The call was to inform her to stay inside. She said she knew before that call something was wrong.
“I noticed even as I was coming back, back roads I noticed there were people in container trucks going through the country and they never have to do that and sometimes on those country roads it’s not very safe," Herring said.
Another resident, Neal Finley said he never got a notification about a stay-at-home order.
“I was inside the house and I just started noticing all the traffic up and down the road so I called my neighbor and he told me they had a accident out on 77," Finley said.
The details of the crash, including what led up to it and the identity of the person killed still haven't been released.