Smoking semi shuts freeway offramp

No hazardous leak despite initial concerns
By: Jenifer Gee Journal News Editor
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First responders treated a smoking semi-truck as a hazardous material scene Tuesday and shut down the Clipper Gap freeway offramp for most of the day. But at about 4:30 p.m., firefighters and a hazmat team cleared the scene and the truck. “The truck didn’t spill anything at all,” Capt. Bill Donovan with the Auburn area California Highway Patrol office said Tuesday. Donovan said firefighters took precautionary measures after they received a call at about 10:24 a.m. that a semi-truck driver reported black smoke coming out of part of his trailer after he pulled off at the Clipper Gap Road exit. At about 10:40 a.m., first responders shut down the Interstate 80 offramp in Applegate and said there was a “corrosive spillage” and were treating it as a hazmat scene, according to the California Highway Patrol’s website. Donovan said the truck was carrying a mixed load and had a placard on it indicating there were corrosive materials inside. “(Firefighters) had to be absolutely sure there wasn’t a corrosive in there that had been spilled,” Donovan said. The offramp was reopened at about 4:30 Tuesday afternoon. Donovan said officers also closed the freeway overcrossing to protect passersby from possible fumes. “The overcrossing is down wind from where the truck was,” Donovan said. “We couldn’t leave it open.” Clipper Gap area resident Tom Pischel said the closure resulted in an about 10-mile detour for he and his wife Tuesday. “It meant to get on the freeway we had to drive all the way up to Applegate,” Pischel said. Reach Jenifer Gee at