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Highway 97 reopens following propane spill

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Posted: Friday, February 10, 2012 11:45 pm | Updated: 4:57 pm, Mon Feb 13, 2012.

State Highway 97 was reopened to traffic late Friday after a truck from Eagle Pass offloaded the propane from an overturned trailer and officials at the scene were able to right the trailer.

Officials at the scene had decided earlier in the day that attempting to upright the trailer would be best pursued empty, so a truck was to have been dispatched four hours away. Emergency responders are still waiting at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Homes within a one-mile radius of the accident were evacuated Friday morning, and electrical service to many homes in the area of Highway 97 and FM 108 near Cost was interrupted when the trailer overturned, spilling propane and threatening residents with dangerous fumes. Electricity was restored about 6 a.m. Saturday.

Shortly after the accident, Gonzales County Sheriff's deputies were turning away traffic in a several-mile radius of the accident scene. Large signs announcing the closure now direct traffic around the site. Closest to Gonzales, the road is blocked at Highway 97 and FM 1116.

Gonzales County Judge David Bird's office also sent out an electronic telephone announcement about the highway closing, recommending residents avoid the area.

According to sources in the area, the tanker truck carrying propane was headed west on Highway 97 when it attempted to make an abrupt left turn south onto FM 108. It is reported that the driver did not slow down enough to make the turn, and ran wide of the road onto soft ground, causing the trailer to overturn.

An electrical pole at the scene was damaged, downing wires dangerously close to the overturned trailer.

Initially, gas escaped from the fill hose on the trailer, prompting reports that the tanker was leaking. It was later determined that no leak occurred, sources say.

Nevertheless, officials at the scene were cautious and suspect of the tanker's structural integrity. The truck was then requested from Eagle Pass.

There is no word regarding any injuries resulting from the accident, the spill or the evacuation.

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