The following is a press release issued by the CHP Garberville Office:
On the morning of November 9, 2021, a breach of an overturned propane truck resulted in the large release of gas propane causing a long-term closure of SR-162.
At 11:35 am, a Thompson Gas truck driven by Mr. Raymond Rowles of Laytonville was traveling eastbound on SR-162, 4 miles east of US-101, loaded with 2,600 lbs. of liquid propane for the eventual delivery to facilities in the Covelo Valley. For reasons still under investigation, Mr. Rowles turned his vehicle causing the propane truck to overturn onto its right side blocking the eastbound lane. A valve line ruptured on the rear of the propane cylinder resulting in the large release of gas propane. Mr. Rowles was able to exit the truck with minor injuries. The collision prompted an emergency response from multiple agencies including the California Highway Patrol (CHP), Caltrans, local fire departments, and hazardous materials specialists. Caltrans established a hard closure of SR-162 from US-101 to milepost marker 4.6 to establish a safe isolation distance for the large release of gas propane. Upon initial assessment by on-scene hazardous materials specialist, it was believed the off-gassing of the propane tank would be brief enough to avoid a long-term closure of SR-162. As the off-gassing continued through the day and temperatures began to drop, the release of gas propane slowed requiring a long-term closure until the scene is deemed safe. As of today at 3:00 PM, the off-gassing has made significant progress, but still presents a threat until the tank is empty. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is the incident commander and will provide updates as they become available. The CHP understands the impact to residents and travelers in and out of the Covelo Valley, and will make every effort to open the roadway as soon as the scene is deemed safe. There is no immediate threat to nearby residents as long as isolation distances are met.
The CHP would like to thank the following responding agencies for their quick response and coordinated effort assisting with this incident: Caltrans, Redwood Empire Hazardous Incident Team (REHIT), County of Mendocino Public Health, Long Valley Fire Department, Little Lake Fire Department, and Round Valley Tribal Police Department.