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US 40 reopens near Strawberry Reservoir after tanker fire

Posted at 9:38 AM, Apr 04, 2018

STRAWBERRY RESERVOIR, Utah - There was some dramatic footage captured near Strawberry Reservoir Wednesday morning after a semi-truck hailing two trailers full of crude oil rolled on highway 40 in Wasatch County.

The crash closed the down the road for a few hours as hazmat crews helped crew up the mess.

Tara Moreland, who works with several rescue organizations in Salt Lake County, was picking up some dogs from Uintah and Roosevelt shelters when she saw thick, black smoke billowing in the distance just after 7 a.m.

"I could see it from a few miles back," Moreland said. "I could see the smoke and didn’t know what it was."

Moreland shot some incredible video of the flames on her cell phone.

"I kind of, I don’t know maybe stupidly, made the decision to go around," Moreland said. "It was very hot. I of course made sure it felt like a safe enough distance and then just went as fast as I could past it. I knew otherwise I’d be stuck for hours and wouldn’t be able to get these guys out."

Moments later, Utah Highway Patrol closed down the road. After Wasatch County fire got the blaze under control, UHP Sgt. Jed Jorgensen spoke with the driver.

"He had fallen asleep or dozed off. He had drifted off the right side of the road," Jorgensen said.

The driver told troopers he over-corrected and rolled.

"The smaller second trailer that he was pulling was the one that rolled," Jorgensen said. "The semi cab and the trailer that were behind him stayed upright."

The fact that only one of the two trailers rolled is truly a blessing.

"Obviously it could’ve been a much bigger disaster with two tanks burning," Jorgensen said.

Hazmat crews did respond because some oil got into a stream that filters into the Strawberry Reservoir. UHP says the trucking company is working with Envirocare to clean up the spilled oil.

A few hours later, the road was back open, clearing the way for Moreland and the rescue pups.

"Crisis averted, yep, and pups got out of the shelter and they’re on their way to rescues," Moreland said.

Amazingly, nobody was hurt.