By Laura Colvin
Kuna Melba News editor
A tanker truck was carrying more than 3,000 gallons of fuel through Kuna on Tuesday when it collided with a car on E. Avalon. The accident required a hazmat response and left the road closed for about three hours.
According to Ada County Sheriff’s Office deputy Gary Miller, the accident occurred at 1:49 p.m. when an elderly man turned right from Blue Diamond onto E. Avalon, putting his Buick sedan in the path of the eastbound tanker. Police said the man, who was uninjured in the crash, told them he did not see the truck as he made his turn.
Firefighters estimated about 10 gallons of diesel spilled onto the roadway before they arrived, but the fuel was from the truck’s own saddle tank, not the huge tank of fuel it was hauling.
“We determined pretty quickly that tank was intact, otherwise we would have evacuated the area,” said Captain John Charlton of the Kuna Rural Fire District, noting the truck’s driver told him he was hauling about 2,500 gallons of diesel and 700 gallons of gasoline. “It obviously could have been much worse than it was.”
Charlton said the tanker’s driver, who was also uninjured in the crash, reported he was traveling about 25 mph when the crash occurred, and also said he’d just filled the saddle tank Tuesday morning and estimated about 70-80 gallons remained when the crash occurred.
Kuna firefighters were on the scene about five minutes – long enough to check on the drivers and see the fuel running onto the roadway – before determining a hazmat response was necessary.
While waiting for the hazmat team to arrive, Kuna firefighters – who also receive at least basic hazmat response training – used floor-dry compound to dam the leak, and ran to the nearby Auto Zone store for more once they exhausted the supply on hand.
“We dammed it up as best we could,” Charlton said. “Then we started catching it in buckets; it was streaming out pretty good and we couldn’t dam it fast enough. Luckily there were no storm drains or waterways right in that area; we definitely didn’t want it to leave the roadway.”
Firefighters collected 15-20 gallons of diesel in buckets before hazmat responders used a special compound to get the leak slowed to a drip.
Hazmat responders, Boise firefighters who are also part of the state’s Region 4 Hazardous Materials Team, pumped the spilled fuel into a clean-up vehicle and swept up the diesel-soaked drying compound, as well.
An accident reconstruction specialist from the Ada County Sheriff’s Office was also on the scene, as was the ACSO patrol supervisor and two patrol deputies, who were assisting with traffic in the area.
Kuna Police Chief Lt. Kody Aldrich said a full investigation would be completed before a determination was made on issuing citations or seeking charges.