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November 27, 2011 at 10:48 PM

Tanker wreck closes I-405 lanes

UPDATE 12:20 A.M.: Incident response crews are prepared to right the overturned fuel tank trailer, but determining how much fuel had spilled – and where the gas had gone – will take hours to unravel.

The tanker, from Lee & Eastes Tank Lines of Seattle, held up to 7,000 gallons, with three compartments within the tank, said Lt. Troy Donlin of Bellevue Fire. After the initial accident overturned the tanker, fuel spilled for nearly a a mile down I-405, flowing along the Jersey barrier, Donlin said.

Fuel also got into the storm drains and it was unclear how far it had gone, Donlin said. Department of Ecology responders were working to assess the environmental damage.

To guard against sparks igniting the spilled fuel, trucks with foam retardant were stationed along the spill area. “We’re hoping for the best,” said Donlin.

How the spill impacts the morning commute will depend on overnight efforts to target and mitigate the fuel spill.

ORIGINAL POST: A northbound double-tanker semitruck carrying fuel crashed and partially rolled into the median of I-405 just north of Highway 520 in Bellevue, closing northbound I-405 and forcing crews to scramble to contain a fuel spill estimated to be as large as 2,500 gallons.

At about 9:45 p.m., a car struck the tanker truck, causing the rear tank to roll over, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Julie Startup. A second vehicle appears then to have struck the overturned tanker.

The cab and front tank remained upright, but fuel began spilling. The driver of the first car was injured, but it was not immediately clear how severely. The semitruck driver and second driver did not appear to be hurt, Startup said.

A firefighter told dispatchers that the spill could be between 1,600 and 2,500 gallons. The state Department of Ecology and Washington State Department of Transportation crews responded to help contain the fuel as the State Patrol shut down all northbound lanes of I-405.

The spill may also force the left-hand lane of I-405 southbound to be closed, Startup said.

As traffic suddenly gridlocked on the Eastside transportation backbone, crews began checking surrounding roads, including Northeast 116th Street, for a fuel smell. “They’re doing a full assessment of the surrounding areas,” Startup said.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Bellevue, I-405, tanker

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