Crews cleaning up Monitor tanker wreck

COLEVILLE - Slinkard Creek was still burning the day after a gasoline truck rolled over, dumping 8,800 gallons of burning fuel along Highway 89 below Monitor Pass.

Fuel in the creek continued to burn Thursday morning after the 1:16 p.m. Wednesday accident about a mile west of the intersection with Highway 395. The highway was still closed.

"When the truck turned over all the gasoline spilled into the creek making the creek an absolute inferno for about three-tenths of a mile, " Bureau of Land Management Battalion Chief Stewart Volkland said.

The truck's driver is in a burn unit at University of California Davis Medical Center after the accident.

Thanh Duong, 35, of Sacramento, got out of the truck quickly, but suffered second-degree burns on the majority of his body.

He was flown to Washoe Medical Center and then to the burn unit in Sacramento.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Duong was eastbound on Highway 89 in a 2006 Peterbilt tanker truck hauling gasoline at about 1:15 p.m. when he took a curve too fast.

As he attempted to make the curve, the truck's trailer overturned onto its side, rupturing and spilling gasoline, which immediately caught fire.

The truck and its trailer skidded off the roadway and into Slinkard Creek. As the truck and trailer came to rest in the creek the fire engulfed both and ignited the truck's fuel tank.

Surrounding brush also caught fire, according to the highway patrol report. At one point, fuel in the creek was burning.

Slinkard Creek enters the West Walker River near the town of Topaz.

Fire crews from Antelope Valley, the Nevada Division of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and the East Fork Fire District responded to the fire, which was contained at 35 acres.

The Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Fish and Game arrived at the scene for the cleanup.

Federal air tankers and helicopters worked the wildland fire.

In all 60 firefighters responded to the blaze, including two handcrews and five fire engines.

California Highway Patrol troopers closed Highway 89 from Topaz to Markleeville over Monitor Pass, which remained at press time.

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