[Update 11:25 p.m.:] ‘Big Rig’ Carrying 44,000 4,400 Gallons of Fuel Overturns, Fuel Leaking onto Roadway

scannerA “big rig” overturned near Big Lagoon a little before 2:15 p.m. today.

According to the scanner, the vehicle is carrying “approximately 44,000 gallons of fuel,” which is now leaking onto the roadway. A hazmat team has been asked to respond to the the scene.

We’ll update this post when we have more information.

Update 2:28 p.m.: The vehicle is carrying diesel fuel. At this point, it’s unclear if there are any injuries, but medical crews are responding to the scene. Additionally, the “highway” has reportedly been closed in the area.

Update 2:34 p.m.: The truck is leaking about three gallons of fuel per minute.

Update 2:45 p.m.: The scanner archives confirm that this accident is on Highway 101. Here is an audio clip of what was said over the scanner:

Audio provided by Broadcastify

Update 2:50 p.m.: The scanner and readers are letting us know that the truck itself is upright. However, the trailer that is carrying fuel is overturned and leaking.

Update 3:02 p.m.:

Update 3:40 p.m.: A reader sent us the following photo and told us there is one-way traffic at the scene of the accident.

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 3.36.17 PM

Update 3:55 p.m.: Cal Fire spokesperson Laura Coleman writes:

New Incident: area of big lagoon; CHP, CAL TRANS, CAL FIRE, ARCATA FIRE; TANKER TRUCK CARRYING FUEL OVERTURNED SPILLING APPROXIMATELY 200 GALLONS; ALL notifications made including early warning; fish and game; coast quard; environmental health. Mitigation of this hazard is currently ongoing.

Update 4:50 p.m.:

UPDATE 9 p.m.: Coleman tells us:

[A]pprox 800 gallons released full containment complete! Second truck there offloading the trailer still unknown if product made it to the lagoon. They don’t think it did however the nearby creek has no fuel in it so it’s probably spread out across the surface but did not make it to the actual watershed.

Update 11:25 p.m.:

[Reporter’s Note: Despite what was reported over the scanner, readers are letting us know that 44,000 gallons of fuel is an unrealistic amount of fuel for a truck to be hauling. The truck was likely hauling somewhere around 4,400 gallons. RHBB would like to apologize for any distress we may have caused our readers.]



  • Wow, that works out to be 352,000 lbs. Or 176,000 tons?? Seems like a little much and that it would be hard to control while driving.

    • missed on the math

      176 tons. And, yes, it is a lot.
      Particularly since one of those trucks usually carries around 9000 gallons, or less. Maybe more like 44,000 lbs of fuel is in the truck.

  • Oh shoot!!! This is not good, hope he is OK, but that kind of fuel isnt good for the lagoon or the wildlife in the area. Might make the road a little more slippery then it already is, anyone driving in the area should be extra careful

  • More like 4400 gallons. Was spilling rapidly out of the back trailer.

    • I just updated the post with the audio of them saying 44,000 gallons.

      • fuel is off in gallons by a factor of ten. A very light fuel like 100LL aviation gasoline in a truck and trailer might be 9K gallons while a gasoline full load would be 8K gallons. A heavier fuel like diesel or Jet “A” would be more like 7K gallons fully loaded truck and trailer. At 2:15pm it was mostly a scene being handled by civilians. Thanks for the heads up. Hopefully the hazmat team can stop the leaking and mother nature will take care of the rest.Big Lagoon Weather
        Flood Watch from Sun, 4am until Sun, 7pm
        Observation as of 2:45 pm PST
        scattered showers
        Feels Like 45°
        Light Rain
        WindS 16 mph Humidity87% Dew Point 47°F Pressure30.04 in Visibility6.0 mi UV Index0 out of 10
        Rain 80%
        SSE 16 mph
        heavy rain
        Heavy Rain/Wind 100%
        SSW 26 mph
        Thunderstorms 100%
        NNW 13 mph

      • I’m sure they did in error.

      • maybe they meant hundred, as in 44 hundred gallons. who was that talking on the scanner? as in what agency? just curious as the source is not defined.

        • They probably meant “44 hundred” gallons. As our readers quickly pointed out, 44,000 gallons would have been an enormous load for one truck to be hauling.

          Also, I’m not sure what agency is speaking in the audio.

  • Pretty sure they meant 4,400 gallons. At 3 gallons a minute it would take 24.5 hours to drain completely. Correct weight would then be 32,956 lbs. Diesel weights 7.49 lbs per gallon. That doesn’t include the weight of the rig towing it or the trailer it was being hauled in.

  • I went by just after this happened. The rear tank trailer was overturned and upside down and spewing a huge amount of what appeared to be gas or some other fuel into a roadside ditch which drained directly into Big Lagoon.

  • You da man urban farmer I don’t think there is s fuel tanker that exist s that can hold 44000 gals it would also be way over weight eve if it was a 18 ft trailer it would hack to bee about 30 ft tall just estimating its dimensions lol just saying

  • In some western states, you will see trucks that have a tank on the truck and pull a long 4 axle trailer behind that. These truck/trailer combinations have the capacity of 11,500 gallons and can weigh as much as 105,000 pounds when fully loaded.

  • Ok,,let’s just all agree it was a bunch. And according to witnesses it dumped almost directly into the lagoon. That sucks.

  • Based on what I saw I cannot believe that only 200 gallons spilled. Fuel was gushing out at an extremely high rate when I went by , I would estimate hundreds of gallons a minute. The roadside ditch was pouring fuel directly toward a low point where there was doubtless a culvert running to the lagoon.

    • Well, it was about 200 gallons at the time that she wrote that. It sounded to me like it was still pouring out.

      • cal roads was not current on this incident, so thanks for keeping us updated about one-way controlled traffic. I should imagine they will have to empty the trailer and then get it upright which could very well lead to further road closures. The solution to this pollution will be the dilution. Cal Trans Road phone line at 1-800-427-7623 has nothing at all on this incident as of 4:30 pm.

  • Was this a Renner petroleum truck?

  • Thanks for the scanner clip! Note for those on satellite: Let it run through once, then replay; the skips disappear. af

  • Pingback: Fishing Reopens in Big Lagoon After Fuel Spill – Redheaded Blackbelt

  • A few minutes before I came up on the scene, a speeding tractor-trailor crossed into my lane and almost took me out. He was heading south like a wild man. I mean out of control fast. Did he run the fuel truck into the bank? I hope the fuel truck driver is OK.

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