Niemerg Honors First Responders for Actions During Ammonia Accident

State Representative Adam Niemerg's first official act of the new year was to honor the first responders who provided invaluable assistance after the tragic accident involving a fatal anhydrous ammonia leak caused by a traffic accident.

On Friday night September 29, 2023, a semi-truck carrying 7,500 gallons of anhydrous ammonia was involved in a traffic accident on Highway 40 in Teutopolis, about 93 miles southeast of Springfield. The accident and subsequent leak of anhydrous ammonia, led to five fatalities and eleven injuries as well as the evacuation of nearly 500 people from the east side of the rural community of Teutopolis.

On January 2, 2024, Niemerg presented certificates of recognition to the multiple teams of first responders at a ceremony held at the Teutopolis Fire Protection District. Those recognized included:
  • Clark County Ambulance Service
  • Dieterich Fire Protection District
  • Effingham County Sheriff’s Office
  • Greenup Area Fire Protection District EMS (Emergency Management Service)
  • Jasper County EMS (Emergency Management Service)
  • Montrose Fire Protection District
  • Teutopolis Fire Protection District
  • Teutopolis Police Department
“The quick response and cooperation of all of these first responders who showed great professionalism and teamwork to minimize the tragedy and help save lives,” commented Rep. Adam Niemerg. “I want to say thank you to the emergency personnel who stepped up to coordinate resources and get this emergency under control to prevent any more loss of life. My condolences to the families who have suffered loss and injury from this tragic event.”

Among the fatalities were a adult and two children from a local family, plus a motorist from Missouri and another from Ohio. The driver of the anhydrous ammonia tanker was among the eleven people injured and airlifted out for medical treatment.

According to state police, more traffic than usual was on the roadway at the time of the incident because drivers on Interstate 70 had been diverted around the scene of an earlier crash. Authorities initially evacuated a 2-square-mile area on the east side of town. Two regional hazardous materials teams, 15 emergency response departments and nearly 100 of their crew members responded to the spill.