Tanker crash shuts down Highway 82
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
EL JEBEL ” A tanker truck full of gasoline rolled on Highway 82 Sunday, closing both lanes and spilling gas onto the road.
The wreck occurred at 1:45 p.m. and closed the highway for most of the day as hazardous material crews from Glenwood Springs and the Colorado State Patrol worked to clear the gasoline and truck.
“The driver said, ‘I just turned the wheel and I flipped it,'” said Amber DeLuca, who was first to arrive on the scene of the wreck. “He said it was his second day on the job.”
The Colorado State Patrol, investigating the accident and coordinating the clean-up, did not release the name of the driver of the truck.
DeLuca’s apartment is adjacent to the highway just west of the El Jebel traffic light where the accident happened.
“At first, gas was spewing out over [the truck], there was a lot of gas running down the highway,” said DeLuca, who worked as a medic in the Marine Corps in Iraq. “I was like, ‘there’s a lot of gas but we need to get [the driver] out of there.'”
When she went down to the truck, she encountered the driver, who was apparently unharmed. Basalt Fire Deputy Chief Jerry Peetz said no one was taken to the hospital.
When Basalt firefighters arrived, Peetz said they worked to get a blanket of foam down on the gas to keep the highly flammable vapors down.
“It’s the vapors that ignite,” said Peetz. “Fortunately, there was no fire involved from the beginning.”
Because Basalt was able to get the foam down on the gasoline, the decision was made not to evacuate people from the nearby apartments where DeLuca lives, said Peetz. Twenty-four firefighters responded from Basalt, with four engines, as well as firefighters from Glenwood Springs and Carbondale. Personnel were involved from the Colorado Department of Transportation, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
At 6 p.m. Peetz said a hazardous materials team from the Colorado State Patrol was on-scene trying to transfer remaining gasoline from the tanker to a second tanker, before attempting to tow the tanker that crashed. Clean-up was expected to take past midnight but Peetz said crews were working to have the road clear by early morning.
“I wanted to bring a wheel barrow and collect all the gas,” said DeLuca. “I was like, ‘we kill for that.'”
Contact Joel Stonington: firstname.lastname@example.org
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.