FedEx truck carrying ammunition, inert grenades catches fire on Ohio interstate

By AKRON BEACON JOURNAL Published: January 25, 2018

EDINBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — A FedEx truck carrying ammunition, inert grenades and the potentially explosive chemical sodium hydroxide caught fire Wednesday night in Portage County.

No one was injured, but five local and state agencies scrambled to shut Interstate 76 in both directions between about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and 2:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the Ravenna post of the State Highway Patrol.

Officials did not say where FedEx was supposed to deliver the unusual assortment of weaponry and chemicals.

According to troopers, this is what happened:

Truck driver Jackie J. Johnson, 64, of Youngstown, was driving west on I-76 about 10:30 p.m. and pulled a Fed-Ex truck with a double trailer onto the entrance ramp of a rest area because of a small brake fire under the rear trailer.

Troopers used fire extinguishers to douse the blaze. Johnson separated the impacted trailer from the truck and another trailer and drove to the rest area.

It’s not clear who made the discovery, but billing papers revealed the impacted trailer contained sodium hydroxide — a chemical that can react with strong acids and water to form flammable and explosive hydrogen gas — along with a barrel of unidentified ammunition and 60 pounds of dummy hand grenades.

Troopers called in the Ravenna Fire Department, the Summit County bomb squad and Portage County Emergency Management Agency for help.

The Ohio Department of Transportation also responded and designated alternative travel routes as the freeway was shut in either direction.

After officials determined no hazardous material was released during the incident, the road re-opened.

The incident happened not far from Camp Ravenna, a joint military training center for the Ohio National Guard. But it was not immediately clear if the FedEx shipment had anything to do with the base.

©2018 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
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