SPRINGFIELD, Va. (AP) -- A tractor-trailer loaded with 40,000 pounds of black powder overturned at a major highway interchange early Wednesday, prompting the evacuation of nearby residents and clogging rush-hour traffic in the Washington area.
The flatbed truck ran off on a ramp where the Capital Beltway around Washington intersects I-495, the major north-south highway linking New York and Florida.Traffic was blocked in both directions on I-495, along with the outer loop of the multilane beltway surrounding the nation's capital.
Fairfax County, Va., firefighters created a 2,000-foot safety zone around the site. It was not clear how many homes were evacuated as a precaution.
Authorities said the driver, who was trapped initially, was freed by rescuers and does not appear to be seriously injured.
There was no immediate word on what caused the truck to overturn.
At the makeshift evacuation center set up at Lee High School, 40 to 50 people arrived by 7 a.m., dressed in shorts and jeans and T-shirts after being hustled out of their homes by authorities who banged on neighborhood doors.
"We were just awakened and told not to take a shower and get out," said Lois Neel, 68, of Springfield.