500 gallons of oil spill down embankment near Pyramid Lake

overturned tanker spills oil down embankment, snarls traffic near Pyramid Lake, photo for The Signal by Jeff Zimmerman.

At least 500 gallons of crude oil from an overturned big rig spilled down an embankment near Pyramid Lake Sunday morning, snarling weekend traffic through the Grapevine for miles as hazardous material crews worked all day to contain the spill.

One person was injured in the crash that happened shortly before 10:15 a.m. on Interstate 5, just south of Vista Del Lago near Cherry Canyon.

The big rig, hauling 6,500 gallons of crude oil, left I-5 and flipped on its side, sending crude oil 100 feet down the embankment.

firefighters respond to overturned tanker. photo by Jeff Zimmerman, for The Signal.

“The number of gallons spilled was listed as 500 gallons,” Inspector Joey Marron of the Los Angeles County Fire Department told The Signal Monday.

None of the spilled crude found its way into the storm drain, he said.

Specialized firefighters trained to handle spills involving hazardous materials were dispatched to the crash site shortly after 11 a.m.

“The freeway was completely snarled as the tanker was still being off-loaded at 5:30 p.m. Sunday,” said photographer Jeff Zimmerman who witnessed the cleanup efforts.

“Fire crews were trying to dam up the runoff of crude oil on the steep hillside,” he said.

California Highway Patrol officers shut down the slow lane and the lane next to it for at least three hours while cleanup crews worked.

“The big rig was partially over the side embankment,” CHP Officer Josh Greengard told The Signal. “The tanker-trailer was leaking oil onto the embankment.”

The California Office of Emergency Services reported no drinking water was affected by the spill.

Firefighters at the scene of an overturned tanker spilling oil. photo by Jeff Zimmerman, for The Signal.

Affected by the resulting traffic jam, was a man injured after being thrown from a horse, Zimmerman said, noting a helicopter was dispatched to an area near the cleanup to take the injured man to hospital.

A SigAlert was issued that closed two of the southbound lanes near Vista del Lago Road. It remained in effect until shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday.

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service said cleanup crews addressed the spill on Angeles National Forest land.

“They had a cleanup crew out on site to remove it all,” Nathan Judy, of the U.S. Forest Service told the Signal.

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