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Illinois semitruck crash causes "multiple fatalities," ammonia leak evacuation

A semitruck carrying anhydrous ammonia overturned in Illinois, causing "multiple fatalities," Illinois State Police confirmed to CBS News on Saturday. The leak prompted an evacuation of area residents, police said.

The accident, which involved "multiple" vehicles, happened about a half-mile east of Teutopolis on U.S. Highway 40 on Friday at about 9:25 p.m., police said.

Due to the plume from the ammonia leak, an evacuation was ordered within an approximate one-mile radius of the crash, including northeastern parts of Teutopolis, police said.

"At this time, there are multiple fatalities," the statement said. The number of deaths was not immediately disclosed.

The highway between Teutopolis and Montrose is closed. Crews were working to contain the leak.

Anhydrous ammonia is toxic and can be a health hazard if safe handling procedures are not followed. Effects of inhalation of anhydrous ammonia range from lung irritation to severe respiratory injuries, with possible death at higher concentrations. Anhydrous ammonia is also corrosive and can burn the skin and eyes.

Teutopolis is about 92 miles (148 kilometers) southeast of Springfield, the capital of Illinois.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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