A tractor-trailer flatbed truck collided with several cars and then crashed into the median on Interstate 95 in Fairfield near Exit 25 southbound Wednesday afternoon, spilling its load and creating major traffic delays on both sides of the highway, State Police and Fire Department officials said.
Four people, including the driver of the tractor-trailer truck, were hospitalized with minor injuries, Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Curry said.
Curry said the first firefighters to arrive found a flatbed truck, two cars in the southbound lanes and two cars in the northbound lanes affected by the collision. He said the truck and two cars collided while traveling south and all three hit the median divider. The two cars suffered heavy damage and the truck was moderately damaged, but lost its cargo load of bricks and cement paving stones.
"The load of stones spread across two lanes southbound and three lanes northbound," Curry said.
Curry, who has more than 20 years experience as a Fairfield firefighter, said it was "one of the biggest messes I've ever seen on the turnpike."
The truck's saddle tank was punctured and fuel spilled onto the road, Curry said. He said Fairfield crews plugged the leaking tank with a wooden plug, made a dam and collected the fuel from the saddle tank. He said about 50 gallons of fuel leaked into the storm sewer.
The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was called to the scene and Connecticut Tank Removal emptied the remaining fuel from the truck and vacuum out the storm sewer.
Northbound traffic was backed up into Darien as of 4:45 p.m., with the start of rush hour adding to the delays. The southbound lanes were reopened by 4 p.m.
State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said the crash is being investigated by Troop G in Bridgeport.
The incident took place around 2:45 p.m. and the Fire Department cleared the scene just after 4:20 p.m.
DEEP and DOT crews remained on the scene to clean up until around 5:30 p.m.
Westport and Fairfield fire units and Westport EMS also were dispatched to a minor two-car crash near Exit 19 on Interstate 95 northbound that happened in the midst of the traffic tie-ups. No one was injured, but two children were evaluated at the scene.