Governor signs disaster emergency proclamation after fuel tanker fire closes I-81 outside Harrisburg

Governor Tom Corbett yesterday signed a disaster emergency proclamation to assist state and local authorities in responding to a massive tanker truck fire that has closed portions of Interstate 81 and Routes 22/322 in Dauphin County.

“This accident has created a traffic nightmare for thousands of citizens as they try to go about their daily lives to work, school and other activities,” Corbett said. “But the economic impact across the Northeast United States and Mid-Atlantic region is potentially staggering when you consider the amount of commerce that travels through Pennsylvania on these roads every day.”

Corbett said the investigation into the accident, which happened shortly after 6 a.m. on Thursday, is being handled by the Pennsylvania State Police and is ongoing. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is continuing to inspect the accident scene, but it’s unclear how long the roadway will be closed.

The proclamation authorizes state agencies to use all available resources and personnel, as necessary, to cope with the magnitude and severity of this emergency situation. The time-consuming bid and contract procedures, as well as other formalities normally prescribed by law, are waived for the duration of the proclamation.

Text of the Governor’s disaster emergency proclamation is available online at www.pema.state.pa.us/declarations.