An overturned fuel tanker accident leads to the temporary traffic closure on Kawaihae Road in Kamuela, South Kohala Tuesday (December 17th).
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawaii Police Department (HPD) responded to a motor vehicle accident involving a semi-truck carrying a chemical tanker on Kawaihae Road (Highway 19) in Kamuela, South Kohala Tuesday morning (December 17th).
The initial call came in at 7:30 am Tuesday morning and HFD crews from the Waimea Fire Station along with Battalion 2, HFD Assistant Fire Chief, and HPD officers from the South Kohala Patrol responded to the scene on Kawaihae Road just east of the 62-mile marker in Kamuela near the Kanehoa Subdivision.
Upon the arrival of emergency crews, driver the tractor-trailer reported his left rear tire had blown out and due to the high winds in the area, was unable to regain control of the tractor-trailer and causing it to partially roll over and land on top of an approximately 10-foot high dirt hill just east of the 62-mile marker. The driver of the tractor-trailer was uninjured and awaited the arrival of emergency crews.
Once emergency crews arrived on the scene, HFD crews worked to stabilize the semi and the trailer, which at the time of the incident was carrying Methanol. HFD crews consulted with Hazardous Material Response Team from the Makalei Fire Station on handling the tanker and then conducted an assessment of the tanker vessel and later determined the tank was intact and there was no hazardous leaks presence. However, as a precaution, HFD crews did set up a safety perimeter around the semi and trailer until additional resources and large-sized tow crane arrived on the scene to safely upright and removed semi and tank from the scene.
One lane of Kawaihae Road was closed for a good portion of Tuesday and HPD officers later closed both lanes of Kawaihae Road for 1.5 hours, to allow a large-sized tow crane to remove the semi and trailer from the hillside and roadway.
Kawaihae Road was cleared and later reopened to all traffic at 3:15 pm Tuesday afternoon.
Here's a video of Methanol and special handling needed for when incidents similar to happen: