Colorado Highway 13 was closed in both directions about eight miles north of Rifle for six hours Sunday night and early Monday morning, after the suspension on a semi-tanker of crude oil broke and rolled over and caught fire, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
The driver, the only person involved, was not injured in the accident, which was reported around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, said Cpl. Shauna Swale. The rollover caused a leak of crude oil from the rear 4,500-gallon tanker of two tankers, which caught fire and burned an area of grass and trees, Swale added.
“When the suspension broke, the back tanker fish tailed and rolled,” she stated. “The truck and the front tanker did not roll.”
Fire and emergency crews from Rifle responded to the scene, along with personnel from other nearby agencies, according to Colorado River Fire Rescue spokeswoman Maria Pina.
Swale said firefighters prevented the blaze from destroying the front tanker and truck, and the State Patrol’s hazardous materials response unit helped contain the spill, which is not believed to have crossed the highway toward Government Creek.
The truck was owned by Basin Western of Ballard, Utah, and the driver was hauling the crude oil from Rifle to Rangely, Swale said.
The crash and fire caused the highway to be closed in both directions until 12:30 a.m. Monday, Swale added, with vehicles rerouted over Colorado Highway 325 outside Rifle to County Road 252 during the closure and clean up.