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Highway 58 Reopens One Lane After Tanker Truck Spills Fuel

By Jennifer Richardson

OAKRIDGE, Ore. — Residents were forced to evacuate their homes after a fuel tanker overturned on Highway 58 Monday.

The tanker overturned four miles west of Oakridge just before 9 a.m.

The highway was shutdown for hours.

Hazmat was called out and a nearby subdivision was evacuated.

Phil Macabee lives in Deception Creek Mobile Home Park near the site of the overturned tanker.

While he didn’t have to evacuate, several of his neighbors living a few hundred feet from the crash did.

“Any time that we do an active off-loading of raw fuel, we move that evacuation or isolation distance back to a thousand feet,” Hazmat crew member Markus Lay.

More than 4,000 gallons of gas and diesel spilled out from the tanker.

Gary Griffith, the driver, walked away unharmed but was cited for failure to drive within a lane.

As Cascade Petroleum, the company who owns the tanker, works to pump the nearly 6,000 gallons of fuel still on board out, Eugene Hazmat crews are working to prevent serious damage to the waterways.

“We’ve been doing what we call plume bottling where we go out and check and see what the extent and how far the fuel has gotten out from the primary spill,” Lay said.

Absorbent booms are now set up in the low areas where the fuel could be flowing.

“It traps it in a pull-off to the side of the river, and then it can be skimmed up and reclaimed,” Lay said.

“That it will go through underground and into our well, and then we won’t have water here, that is a fear,” Macabee said.

“The long-term concern is really the groundwater effects and the fishery that is right here,” Lay said.

Since then, one lane of the highway has reopened and residents have been allowed back in their homes.

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