By Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7
An 8,000 gallon tanker truck from C&F Trucking flipped onto its side on Highway 19 (Mamalahoa Highway) on the Honokaa side of Kaawalii Gulch Wednesday morning (July 21).
Fire/rescue crews responded to the 6:32 a.m. alarm and once on scene extricated a 40 year-old driver from the tanker and transported him to North Hawaii Community Hospital. The driver was reported to be in serious condition.
The tanker was carrying Naphtha fuel with most of the fuel leaking out. A recovery tanker was brought on scene and was able to vacuum out the remaining fuel in the tanker.
Hawaii County Civil Defense reports that although the roadway has been cleared of the accident the air quality remains at unsafe levels for public access. The highway has been closed indefinitely by order of the State Department of Transportation’s Highways Division.
Work crews are excavating the soil that the fuel has spilled into. Once the fuel soaked soil is removed new air quality measurements will be taken to determine if the highway is safe to be opened.
Motorists should find alternate routes as the roadway was still closed as of 2:45 p.m.
UPDATE: Kaawalii Gulch has just opened to to traffic as of 3:45 p.m.