Accident spills 960 gallons of fuel in South Weed

Deborra Brannon
Weed Fire Department and CAL FIRE personnel confer with Williams Tank Lines safety director and the driver of the damaged tanker, right, before the remaining fuel is transferred to a replacement tanker, center.

A pierced tanker truck on the far south end of Black Butte Drive in South Weed dumped 960 gallons of gasoline onto the roadside Thursday morning shortly before 3 a.m.

Weed Police Sergeant Justin Mayberry said he was advised at the scene that no open waterway had been contaminated by the spill.

No charges have been filed in the incident.

Mayberry said the driver of a Williams Tank Lines tanker was parked for the night on the side of Black Butte Drive when a Western Express truck pulled up alongside it looking for a place to park.

When the Western Express driver reversed as he attempted a U turn to head back north on Black Butte Drive, part of his trailer pierced the side of the tanker and lodged there, Mayberry explained.

Weed Fire Department’s CAL FIRE administrative captain Kent Cunningham reported that emergency personnel responding to the scene plugged the hole as quickly as possible, working from the top of the tanker.

Once the hole was plugged, the driver pumped fuel from the compromised tank into one of the other internal tanks in the trailer.

Brian Palmer of Black Butte Towing unhooked the trucks by lifting the end of the fuel tanker and easing it away from the other truck, using straps instead of chains to reduce the chance of sparks.

Weed Public Works Director Craig Sharp said a certified hazmat clean up crew is first sampling the soil to determine where it needs to be taken for disposal, and will cover the spill area with plastic tarping so the gasoline doesn’t spread in the rain.

The crew will excavate until it reaches soil that sampling indicates is uncontaminated, removing asphalt and soil as they go.

About a dozen semis in the area were evacuated during the incident.

Personnel from CAL FIRE, the Weed police, fire, and public works departments, Mount Shasta Fire and Siskiyou County Public Health responded to the scene.