Evacuations lifted after tanker truck spill forces Alpine residents from homes | RecordCourier.com

Evacuations lifted after tanker truck spill forces Alpine residents from homes

Alpine County Deputy Brian Lowry directs a motorist to turn around on Wednesday afternoon after a toxic tanker truck near Woodfords Junction spill closed Highway 88.
Kurt Hildebrand

Homes and businesses around Woodfords were evacuated on Wednesday after a tanker truck with a toxic load crashed and burned on Highway 88.

The driver of the truck was killed in the incident and fumes from the leaking substance forced rescuers to retreat from the wreckage.

Gregory S. Brown, 46, was killed when the 2014 Freightliner he was driving rolled near Crystal Springs in Alpine County at about 10 a.m.

The collision occurred at around 10 a.m. just west of Woodfords Junction.

First responders from Eastern Alpine reported the truck’s cab was crushed and there was no sign the driver had been ejected in the collision.

According to entries in the California Highway Patrol’s incident log, the truck’s tank ripped open spilling a “corrosive and toxic substance.”

Highway 88 was closed at Pickets Junction and Emmigrant Trail. Residents and businesses were warned to shelter in place and the county health department was notified.

A helicopter flew over the wreckage in an attempt to get an identify the truck or what it was carrying.

Power lines in the area were cut by the wreck and students had to be transported from the nearby Diamond Valley School to the Early Learning Center.

The California Office of Emergency Services was notified of the wreck and a hazardous materials team dispatched to the scene.

At around 2 p.m., Alpine County announced an evacuation order for Woodfords homes and businesses. The order was lifted more than four hours later.

One woman said she could smell something similar to chlorine in the vicinity on Wednesday. There was no odor that could be detected from the site of the Highway 88 closure near Emmigrant Trail.

Highway 88 was closed through the night as crews tried to clear the wreckage.

It officially reopened at 10:40 a.m., more than 24 hours after the wreck.

A crew from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention and Response reported there was no sign that the suspected bleach solution from the tanker affected fish or wildlife along the West Fork of the Carson River.