A tanker truck, which hit black ice and went off the road at kilometer 845 the Alaska Highway, about five km west of Fireside, B.C., spilled 5,000 litres of gasoline after going off on April 10. (Submitted)

Pacesetter Petroleum truck spills 5,000 litres of gas after sliding off Alaska Highway

Officials say no sign fuel made it to Liard River

A tanker truck spilled 5,000 litres of gasoline after going off the Alaska Highway on April 10.

The truck, which hit black ice and went off the road at kilometer 845, about five kilometres west of Fireside, B.C., is owned by Whitehorse-based trucking company Pacesetter Petroleum.

Sgt. Kent Langley of the Watson Lake RCMP said the call came in to the detachment around 2 a.m. on April 11.

At that time, there was no report of a rupture on the truck. It was later determined one of the truck’s six tanks had ruptured and spilled.

As a result, the highway was closed on April 11 until 4:20 p.m.

RCMP waited for assistance from B.C. Environment officials and the Fort St. John fire department.

Alan Stebbing, environmental emergency response officer with the Ministry of the Environment in B.C., assessed the spill.

“I conducted an overflight yesterday and we did not observe any sheen on the river yesterday or any sign that the fuel had made it from the banks to the (Liard) river,” he told the News April 12.

He said the ministry always comes in for the initial assessment when there is a major threat to the environment or public health.

After that, he said it’s up to the responsible parties to continue to monitor the situation.

In this case, he said Pacesetter has retained an environmental contractor.

Dave Geoghegan, dispatcher with Pacesetter, said that contractor is Castle Rock.

He said the company is cleaning it up already. He anticipates it will be a quick cleanup because it was a relatively small spill, mostly contained by the snow on the roadside.

Geoghegan confirmed this is the company’s third spill in a year. A small fuel truck rolled near Klondike Corner in October after taking the corner too quickly. Another spilled at Rancheria in August, after a driver reached across his seat to grab something, hooked his shoulder, and lost control of the truck.

Geoghegan said it’s unfortunate.

“We have been in the business for 20 years. Prior to that we had nothing,” he said. “All of a sudden you get three in a year which makes you look pretty bad but we’re doing our best.”

Geoghegan said Pacesetter has been in conference calls with the B.C. ministries of transport and environment, and with First Nations in the area of the spill.

He said there will be another call on April 20, to determine how the clean-up has progressed.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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