TEUTOPOLIS, Ill. (WCIA) — Three days later, Teutopolis is still grappling with what happened in their small town over the weekend. The village was rocked Friday night when a truck carrying 4,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia crashed and started leaking.
It happened on U.S. Route 40 in Effingham County, about half a mile east of Teutopolis.
The Effingham County Coroner said five people died from ammonia exposure. Now, community leaders and residents are sharing their stories and thanking first responders.
David Repking, the town’s mayor, said it’s been a hectic few days, but he is proud of everyone for stepping up.
He was one of the hundreds who had to evacuate on Friday night. He said right when he opened his front door, he could smell the ammonia.
Repking stayed away from the active scene to let first responders safely work. But when he saw the number of departments cleaning up on Saturday, it made him realize how tight-knit these Central Illinois communities are.
“It makes you choke up when you see fire trucks from Danville, Charleston, Mattoon, Champaign, the HAZMAT group from Champaign, Mount Vernon,” Repking said.
He couldn’t even begin to list them all, but could not begin to thank each department enough.
“It makes you feel pride in this area. It’s small town living at it’s best,” Repking added.
About 100 first responders helped out, and multiple agencies are still investigating the crash.