By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. — It's going to be a long day for the army of vehicles and crews working to clear a rollover tanker accident on Perkins Road.
Perkins Road from McElroy Road to Redbud Drive remains closed Sunday afternoon. Residents and businesses in a 300-foot radius have been evacuated due to spilled diesel fuel the truck was carrying.
No one was injured.
Stillwater Director of Public Safety Norman McNickle said the wreck happened at approximately 7 a.m. Sunday when a tanker hauling diesel and gasoline swerved to avoid a sports car on the side of the road. The tanker missed the car but rolled through barriers and guardrails to within 4 feet of a electricity utility substation superstructure. The substation has had to be partially shut down.
McNickle said the tanker's 3,000 gallon diesel compartment was ruptured while its 5,000 gallon gasoline compartment remains intact.
“It's really fortunate because had it been gasoline we would be in a much different situation,” he said. Gasoline has a much lower flashpoint making it far more dangerous than diesel. Crews drilled holes in tanker and have started to pump its contents into another tanker. More holes are being drilled but it is a long, slow process to make sure it is done safely, McNickle said.
Once the fuel is pumped crews can work to clear the wreckage and take away any material tainted with fuel. Two cranes have arrived and are standing by to lift the tanker out of the substation structure.
“It's a long process because everything must be done in the safest manner possible,” McNickle said.
He was unsure at 3 p.m. Sunday how long the section of road will remain closed but indicated it could be sometime before crews are finished.
Hazardous materials companies, Stillwater police, Stillwater fire, the trucking company, wreckers and OGE crews are working together at the scene.