by Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com

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May 14, 2013
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Highway 395 open as hazardous materials clean-up begins in fatal Bridgeport accident

Hazardous materials teams are working to clean up the aftermath of a fatal fiery accident that closed Highway 395 at Bridgeport for 12 hours on Tuesday.

Truck driver Miguel Marquez, 33, of San Bernardino, Calif., was identified as the driver of a northbound 2009 Freightliner that missed the curve entering the small Sierra town, according to California Highay Patrol spokeswoman Anne Morin. The truck hit the bridge rail and landing on the bank of the East Walker River, bursting into flame.

Mono County dispatchers received 911 calls reporting an explosion on the east side of town at 3:45 a.m.

When fire crews arrived, they found the truck burning, and spilling fuel into the river.

Firefighters from Bridgeport, Mammoth Lakes and the Mountain Warfare Training Center worked on the fire, and to contain the hazardous materials spilling from the truck.

It took three hours for firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

The fire damaged the bridge crossing the river. The California Department of Transportation examined the bridge and cleared it to be reopened at 3:40 p.m. Repairs to the damaged sections are expected in the future, and could result in partial road closures in the future.

Officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Department of Environmental Health responded to the accident. A hazardous materials clean-up company is expected to work for several days in the area of the accident. Inclement weather in Bridgeport may delay the clean-up and recovery.

That work will be inspected by the departments of Fish and Wildlife, Environmental Health, Transportation and the California Highway Patrol before the area is cleared, Morin said.


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The Record Courier Updated May 14, 2013 06:54PM Published May 15, 2013 10:17PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.