Oil Tanker Crash Shuts Down Downtown Tulsa Highway Ramp

Thursday, November 8th 2012, 8:29 am
By: News On 6

The northwest corner of the IDL is now open, after a tanker trucker wrecked early Thursday morning, spilling thousands of gallons of crude oil on the highway.

This happened where Highway 412 connects with Interstate 244 and the Tisdale Parkway.

Investigators said it's clear the driver was going too fast and the tires on the truck were nearly bald.

More than 10,000 gallons of crude oil were inside the tanker truck when it flipped on its side. The driver was not seriously injured but nearly 6,000 gallons of crude spilled on to the highway.

"This is not a life safety issue, this is mainly an environmental hazard," said Chad Martin, of Tulsa Fire Department's Hazardous Materials team.

Tulsa Fire's Hazardous Materials team says the first order of business was to control and contain the oil that spilled.

For that, they dug trenches downstream, so to speak, of the wreck. The trenches kept the oil from the city's water drainage system, specially trained crews then removed the oil from the trenches and into another tanker.

Teams also worked to dry the oil that didn't make it to the trenches with a product simply called "Oil Pick-up".

The oil that remained inside the tanker also had to be removed before the truck could be flipped back on its wheels.

"I think it went pretty well. Some of it we couldn't catch, but we had our backup plan and we contained it, we kept it out of the waterway, we've got the trailer almost empty," Martin said.

Investigators say the driver of the truck was ticketed for speeding and the company that owns the truck was cited for having faulty equipment. The rear tires were practically bald, most of the truck's other tires look the same.

TFD says the trucking company, TIGA Logistics, out of Houston, is required to pay for the cleanup.

Fire officials say that cleanup went very smoothly, thanks to hundreds of hours spent training.

"We try to train for best and worst case scenarios. We run scenarios at the station all the time on our training. You know—if this happens what are you going to do? How are you going to mitigate this? What if the wind's blowing this way?" Martin said.

News On 6 attempted to contact the trucking company's headquarters in Houston, but were told that they are not taking calls at this time.