SALT LAKE CITY — It will take several days to clean up a big mess left behind by a runaway tanker that ended up in a resident’s backyard.
But Salt Lake fire officials say they are very grateful no one was injured in the Wednesday morning incident.
About 3:20 a.m., the Salt Lake City Fire Department said “an asphalt oil tanker” that was not connected to a truck and was left in a parking lot overnight began rolling for an unknown reason.
The tanker rolled 700 to 800 yards across the empty lot, across North Campus Drive and into the backyard of a home at 66 N. Wolcott St. Neighbors who called 911 thought another earthquake had just happened, according to fire officials.
SLC Hazmat crews are on scene of an asphalt oil tanker spill 66 North Wolcott St. The tanker rolled from an East parking lot across N. Campus drive into the back yard of address. No injuries to report. Approx 3:20 A.M. pic.twitter.com/1xyGZAVHmC— Salt Lake City Fire Department (@slcfire) July 8, 2020
The tanker stopped just short of hitting the house. Salt Lake Fire Capt. Anthony Burton said it was “amazing” that no one was injured, and noted a “perfect storm” likely prevented injuries.
The parking lot was empty, there was no traffic on North Campus drive, and the residents who own the house were out of town, he said.
A big mess on Wolcott St. Fire crews say an asphalt oil tanker rolled from an East parking lot across N. Campus drive @UUtah into the back yard of this home. No injuries. But you can say the oil that spilled from the backyard into the driveway. #ksltvpic.twitter.com/SClK9IXC8P— Matt Rascon (@MattRasconNews) July 8, 2020
However, it will take several days to excavate the backyard and clean up the oil that leaked after trees tore the side of the tanker open, according to the fire department. The fire department made an early estimate that between 500 to 1,500 gallons of oil spilled, but noted that figure could change once a thorough evaluation was completed.
Investigators from the Utah Department of Transportation would be inspecting the tanker to determine if the brakes were working.