SALT LAKE CITY — A crash on I-15 SB at about 1900 S. led to a tanker fire that temporarily shut down southbound I-15 through downtown Salt Lake City this morning.
About one o’clock, police say a car collided with the semi, which was hauling eight thousand gallons of gasoline and about a thousand gallons of diesel fuel. Both drivers were taken to the hospital with one person critically injured and the other in fair condition.
Drowsy driving could be to blame, according to Utah Highway Patrol. Troopers say that the sedan drifted into a wall and then back into traffic where it hit the semi, causing it to jackknife, flip, and then catch fire.
⛔ SB I-15 is CLOSED at 400 S ⛔ I-80 is a good alternative.
Just after 1 am a tanker carrying 8,000 gallons of fuel collided with a car and has caught fire. 📷 Army Joseph pic.twitter.com/xl7arRrVO4
— KSL Newsradio (@kslnewsradio) February 22, 2019
Captain Adam Archuleta with Salt Lake City Fire Department says they had to be careful until the last of the fuel was taken off the truck. Even once the tanker fire was completely contained, the operation carried a risk of reigniting the fuel during offloading.
Archuleta said specialized foam from the airport is helpful in a case like this because it creates a blanket to cover the vapors so that the fuel can be more easily contained.
John Gleason, spokesman for the Utah Department of Transportation, said shortly after 6 am that they hoped to get at least a few lanes of traffic back up and running before the bulk of the morning rush, but with the damage to the road that will need to be repaired, it may take a while before all lanes are fully opened.
Crews are currently trying to offload about 500 gallons of gasoline from one of the tankers. We will then try to open up the SB HOV and #1 lane to allow traffic to move through, but a full reopening of southbound may take a couple of hours, as there is damage to the road. pic.twitter.com/FJ7GdETPCD
— John Gleason (@johnegleason) February 22, 2019
Those lanes did begin opening shortly after 7 am, letting the traffic that had quickly been backing up to start to filter through, but backups were still holding strong with reports of it taking drivers over an hour to pass the crash.
— Derek Petersen (@Derek_Photog) February 22, 2019
This story will be updated.
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