(Newswire.net -- July 27, 2013) Calgary, AB -- A state of emergency has been declared in British Columbia’s Central Kootenay region after a tanker truck carrying approximately 35,000 litres of jet fuel crashed.
The crash occurred around 5 p.m. Friday morning when the tanker overturned into Lemon Creek in B.C’s Slocan Valley.
Bill Macpherson of the Regional District of Central Kootenay said that, “The RCMP were the first responders and they were unable to get too close to the tanker because of jet fuel fumes.”
Concern for resident’s health and safety is a top priority due to noxious fumes, water contamination and possible explosions. To protect the public approximately 800 residents within a radius of 3 kilometers of the waterways have received a mandatory evacuation order.
Residents in the evacuations zone and within 10 kilometers downstream are being warned not to drink the water because of contamination from leaked fuel.
Highway 6 will be closed from the junction with Highway 3 to the junction with Highway 31 as emergency personnel deal with this situation.
Mr. Macpherson said the regional medical officer issued the evacuation order around 10 p.m. as a precautionary measure to ensure public safety.
According to the Emergency B.C. website, “Jet fuel poses an immediate health risk to people. Exposure can burn skin; inhalation can harm respiratory systems and may cause brain damage. It is also dangerous to consume.”
Affected residents are being asked to register at 3 different area schools. Transportation assistance is being offered to those in need the contact number is 1-800-268-7325.
The truck that crashed was on its way to deliver fuel for helicopters that are battling a wildfire in the Perry Ridge area. The Perry Ridge fire is burning approximately 4.5 kilometers west of Winlaw and is roughly 35 hectares in size.
Approximately 400 people live in the Village of Winlaw. It is located in the Slocan Valley about 20 km north of the junction of Highway 3a and 19 km south of the Village of Slocan.
As the investigation continues there is still no word on the condition of the truck driver and the extent of the possible contamination of the creek that feeds into the Slocan River.
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