A truck driver died in a railroad crossing accident that ended up coming into contact with an idle train in Portland, Oregon, on December 13, 2015.
The crash occurred around 9:50 a.m. The truck was carrying a fuel which spilled, caught fire, and spread under parked rail cars full of asphalt material. The tankers did not leak or catch fire but eight of them were damaged.
According to local media reports, the truck driver, 41-year-old Andrew John Lambert of Vancouver, Wash., was driving a 2009 Semi-Tractor hauling a tanker of gasoline west on Highway 30 toward the St. John’s Bridge. The truck then reared toward the right and down an embankment. The truck flipped, collided with a power pole, and began to spill fuel. The train tankers were parked on the train tracks below the roadway, owned by Portland & Western Railroad.
The truck tanker of gasoline ignited and burned for more than an hour. A plume of smoke could be seen for several miles, while flames were estimated to have reached 70 feet in the air. The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management assisted at the scene out of concern of hazardous chemicals. The nearby community was alerted and urged to remain in their homes as a precaution.
The Portland Police Bureau’s major crash team is investigating the incident along with Portland Fire & Rescue investigators. Although the investigation closed Highway 30 for several hours, the St. Johns Bridge reopened to traffic soon after the fire was extinguished.
Local opponents of a proposed oil-rail terminal were quick to point out the dangers of the accident and the possibility of local environmental damage, especially to the local river system.