LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — U.S. 95 has reopened in both directions after closing for about 9 hours due to an overturned fuel tanker early Wednesday morning,
U.S. 95 completely shut down from Rancho to Jones following a crash involving a BMW and an overturned tanker that was leaking fuel.
According to Metro Police, the tanker jackknifed and overturned in the northbound lanes. The US 95 southbound freeway was closed off between Jones and South Rancho with no access to northbound US 95 from I-15. Drivers were advised to use other routes.
The tanker, which was carrying around 8,500 gallons of gasoline, has leaked less than 100 gallons, according to Tim Szymanski with Las Vegas Fire & Rescue. He added that little dams have been set up to contain the fuel and keep it from impacting the environment.
He said the more critical and dangerous issue will be moving the tanker because of its heavy load.
“Where we are right now is we have a truck with 8,500 gallons of fuel and if you estimate about 10 pounds per gallon, you’re talking 80 to 90,000 pounds. If we try to uplift a truck with that on it, it would split the tanker, it would leak out and we would probably have an explosion.”
Szymanski said another tanker truck is being brought to the scene to offload the fuel from the overturned tanker and then there will be an attempt to lift the damaged truck.
“That is actually the least safe time cause it isn’t the fuel that burns, it’s the vapors from the gasoline. Because that truck is empty, it’s got residual gasoline in it. It will be extremely flammable so we will stop all traffic in the area. All of our personnel will have to don their protective clothing from head to toe with breathing apparatus with anticipation of a possible flash fire. It would be very fast and extremely hot.”
Around 11:45 a.m. Las Vegas Fire & Rescue provided an update that the tanker fuel had been offloaded and they were preparing to move the tanker upright.
No one was transported to the hospital following the 4:25 a.m. crash which occurred in the U.S. northbound lanes between Decatur and Valley View boulevards.
Several agencies including Nevada Highway Patrol, Metro, and Las Vegas Fire & Rescue worked together to safely clear this crash.