Fuel tanker crashes on Capitol Creek Road spilling 518 gallons of gas and 23 gallons of diesel | AspenTimes.com

Fuel tanker crashes on Capitol Creek Road spilling 518 gallons of gas and 23 gallons of diesel

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
A fuel tanker overturned onto its top Thursday on Capitol Creek Road and spilled gas and diesel fuel Thursday afternoon. Firefighters from Basalt Fire Department dammed water in the ditch along the road and pump the water into a field to prevent sending it downvalley.
Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office |

A fuel truck overturned on Capitol Creek Road and spilled 518 gallons of gasoline and 23 gallons of diesel fuel on Capitol Creek Road on Thursday.

The Basalt Fire Department dammed water in a ditch and pumped it across the road into a field to avoid the potential greater spread of fuel.

A fuel tanker got into an accident and overturned shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday. The fuel was removed onto another tanker and the overturned vehicle was brought upright and towed away by 8 p.m.

When the accident occurred, Pitkin County deputy sheriff and public information officer Alex Burchetta said the focus was on stopping the fuel from leaking, transferring the fuel to a different tank and getting the truck upright. The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known. The driver of the truck was unhurt, according to Burchetta. He was the only occupant.

The truck was carrying 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel and 1,100 gallons of regular fuel prior to the accident, based on information the driver gave to the Fire Department, Burchetta said. There are no commercial fuel outlets on the rural road, but there are ranches beyond the point where the truck crashed.

The first firefighters arrived on scene at about 1:15 p.m.

“We definitely noticed there was fuel leaking out of the truck,” Burchetta said. The crew that contained the leak reported it was a “steady stream” at first. By 2:15 p.m., the leak had slowed to a “few drips,” he said.

Firefighters used rocks to dam the roadside ditch upstream from the accident site, then they pumped water over to a field on the opposite side of the ditch, Burchetta said.

The State Patrol established a 1,000-foot perimeter of no occupancy around the site. No one had to be evacuated from the two homes within that perimeter because no one was home at the time, Burchetta said. If they arrived home, they wouldn’t be allowed to return to their residences until the hazard was gone, he added.

The accident site was about 11/2 miles from where East Sopris Creek Road/Capitol Creek Road comes to a T-intersection with Snowmass Creek Road. The accident was between the point where Capitol Creek Road branches off from East Sopris Creek Road and the Little Elk Creek subdivision. Residents of the subdivision had to come and go via alternate access that ties into East Sopris Creek Road. The site is about 4 miles from the Old Snowmass Conoco station.

Reporters weren’t allowed into the site because of the possible risk posed by the fuel fumes. Burchetta said when he drove up to the site he could smell the fumes from inside his vehicle about 200 yards from the site. Basalt firefighters were working in full gear.

The private-sector firm ECOS was enlisted to help with the mitigation.



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