Evacuations Lifted, Roads Open After Semi Hauling Propane Crashes

Dec 30, 2020, 1:58 PM | Updated: Dec 31, 2020, 12:24 am

HENEFER, Utah — A semi carrying more than 10,000 gallons of propane put a community in Summit County on high alert and left thousands of drivers stranded for several hours. But now, evacuations have been lifted and the highways have opened back up.

The tanker crashed on the westbound I-80 ramp to I-84 shortly before 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Dozens of homes in the small town of Echo were evacuated and the highways were closed after the tanker started leaking.

“We’ve made it home since 1987 and we’ve had to put up with a lot of stuff over the years,” said Chad Harper who was evacuated. “Today was pretty, pretty scary.”

From his porch, Chad saw a semi carrying nearly 15,000 gallons of propane crash along the highway. The semi was carrying two trailers — one carrying 10,000 gallons and the second carrying about 5,000 gallons. The propane in the 5,000 gallons evaporated on impact, but the larger trailer had to be cleared by hazmat crews.

Officials said some lanes along westbound I-84 had significant damage.

Traffic was rerouted for several hours as highways remained closed, affecting drivers like Mike Allred who was on his way home to Wyoming.

“I don’t know how long I will be waiting here in Coalville until they open it up,” said Allred.

Echo residents living in a one-mile radius were evacuated.

“We had nowhere to go except Henefer, down to the Henefer church,” said Harper.

As residents returned home, some said they were concerned the next time will be worse.

Chad said reckless driving is a major issue in the area and it needs to be addressed.

“This is my home, too, and I don’t want to leave, but I have to, he said. “I can’t stay here if it’s going to be like this.”

Deputies are investigating the cause of the crash, but say speeding was a factor.

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Evacuations Lifted, Roads Open After Semi Hauling Propane Crashes