The eastbound lanes of the Brookshire Freeway in Charlotte opened around 5:40 p.m. Saturday after being closed since 10 a.m. when a fuel tanker flipped near the Beatties Ford road exit.
Thirty firefighters from the Charlotte Fire Departments Hazmat team worked for hours to extract more than 8,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel in the overturned truck.
Between 300 and 400 gallons spilled as a result of the wreck, a private clean-up company worker told WCNC-TV. Others had to rescue the truck driver who was trapped after the crash.
Medic took the man to Carolinas Medical Center in Dilworth, where he was treated for life-threatening injuries.
The fuel clean-up was a tedious process, fire Capt. Rob Brisley said.
To keep the highly flammable fuel from catching fire, hazmat crews had to drill into several different compartments on the truck, extract the fuel and pump it into a clean-up companys truck, Brisley said.
Firefighters also set up inflatable pools and other absorbent material to keep the spilled gasoline from leaking into nearby water sources and damaging the environment.
The fire department has notified the Environmental Protection Agency to determine if there was any such damage.