*Editor’s note: The closure is still in effect as of 10 a.m. on Sunday.
LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – Both directions of Interstate 25 near Loveland were closed Saturday after a semi-truck rolled over. The Colorado Department of Transportation says it spilled 11,000 gallons of diesel fuel all over the interstate between CO 402 and US 85.READ MORE: American Indian Academy Students Get Birds-Eye View To Understand Post-Fire Habitats
Loveland Fire Rescue Authority says the 4-axle trailer was, in fact, loaded with 11,500 gallons of fuel. They say the entire trailer spilled.
Tim Smith, Loveland Fire Rescue Authority Batallion Chief, said the department worked quickly to assure the nearby drivers were safe while also confining the spill to the interstate.
“There was a lot of fuel on the ground,” Smith told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
CDOT says southbound lanes are expected to reopen late evening, and northbound lanes could reopen early Sunday morning.
Crews say the spill was directly above the Big Thompson River. The truck was on fire, but because it was diesel spilled it wasn’t hot enough to explode.
“If it was gasoline it probably would have lit off and we would have had a really big ball of flame,” Smith said.
CSP says weight of the trailer is not a factor in the crash, but the driver is being cited for careless driving. They say the driver was inattentive.
Drivers were being detoured onto frontage roads around the spill. They are told to use US 85 and 287 for the next several hours.READ MORE: 'My Heart Goes Out To His Daughters': Barry Morphew's Neighbor Reacts To Murder Charges In Suzanne Morphew Case
Authorities tell CBS4 the driver was stuck inside the truck, but managed to escape. It’s not clear if they escaped before or after crews arrived. CSP says the driver suffered serious injuries.
“Officials on scene are projecting the Interstate to be closed by emergency vehicles for 12 hours or until all hazmat cleanup operations have concluded,” CPS stated.
Nearly three dozen firefighters responded to the scene to help clean up. Colorado State patrol is leading the cleanup efforts while the Environmental Protection Agency is on scene to help.
Valeriy Bizyayev of the EPA said the location of the spill was bad.
“It happens anywhere, and it is always the worst spot,” Bizyayev said. “The Big Thompson River is pretty channel of water. There is a pretty substantial threat of discharge to it.”
Bizyayev applauded firefighters for containing the spill as best as possible, which likely saved both hassle, and significant money for cleanup.
“(Fuel) is on the roadways, it is in the ditches. The only reason the oil is not in the river now is because of Loveland Fire,” Bizyayev said. “Making sure it doesn’t get in to the river is pretty crucial. It’s easier to cleanup dirt in ditches than it is a flowing river. The impacts can stretch for miles and miles.”
Loveland Fire officials also say the air in surrounding neighborhoods will be monitored.MORE NEWS: Highway 6 In Clear Creek Canyon Closed For Head-On Crash Between Semi, Minivan
It’s not clear what caused the truck to crash.