Update: 500 gallons of jet fuel spills from big rig crash near Gorman

overturned tanker near Gorman. Photo for The Signal, by Jeff Zimmerman

More than 500 gallons of jet fuel spilled onto the road and roadside near the northbound lanes of Interstate 5, just south of Gorman, after a big rig hauling 5,000 gallons of the fuel overturned Wednesday morning.

Fuel also leaked from the damaged tanker following the crash.

The crash happened about 4:15 a.m. in the northbound lanes of I-5 when the tanker and a pickup collided, said Officer Josh Greengard of the California Highway Patrol.

“The Department of Water (Resources) was on the scene,” he said. “But, we were told it (jet fuel) did not hit the water. It was on the right shoulder and in the dirt.”

The big rig driver suffered minor injuries but “did not want to be transported” to the hospital, said Austin Bennett, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The pickup driver also suffered minor injuries but was not taken to the hospital.

“The call came in as a big rig over the embankment,” Bennett said. “The truck’s tanker was leaking and it was originally thought to be diesel, but it turned out to be jet fuel.”

More than a dozen emergency response vehicles from two Los Angeles County fire battalions,  including four hazardous materials crews, responded to the spill.

Officials from Homeland Security and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife were also dispatched to the crash, Bennett said.

At 6:15 a.m., fire officials at the scene requested three Health HazMat units, he said.

Brian Stevens, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Health HazMat, said the additional units were called as a precaution.

“Anytime you get a situation near water or, in this case, water potentially getting into the aqueduct, we send our Health HazMat experts to monitor the situation for possible spreads,” he said, noting none of the fuel got into the water system near Gorman.

At 10:30 a.m., one of the HazMat units — HazMat No. 150 — was released from the scene.  Health Hazmat units remained at the scene, two were called back at 1:30 p.m., Stevens said, leaving two units at the cleanup.

In all, between 1,500 and 1,700 gallons of jet fuel escaped from a slow leak on the damaged tanker.

At 7:30 a.m., most of the fuel had been offloaded from the damaged tanker onto a second tanker dispatched to the crash site.

No drinking water was affected by the spill, according to the Hazardous Materials Spill Report prepared by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

“Tanker truck accident caused the release,” the report reads. “Material is flowing onto asphalt at a slow rate — 3 gallons per minute — no storm drain or waterway has been impacted at this time. The Fire Department is handling the containment, Caltrans and Los Angeles County HazMat are performing the cleanup.”

Cleanup crews remained at the site the entire day, with one northbound lane closed for most of the day.



On Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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