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Logging truck crashes into Pocatello railroad bridge, breaching diesel fuel pipeline


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Emergency units at the scene of Thursday night’s accident in which a logging truck crashed into a railroad bridge in Pocatello. The collision breached a diesel fuel pipeline that runs along the bridge, resulting in the temporary closure of North Main Street. | Doug Lindley, Idaho State Journal

POCATELLO — A logging truck crashed into a railroad bridge Thursday evening, breaching a diesel fuel pipeline and resulting in a section of North Main Street being temporarily shut down.

The crash occurred near the scene of a Thursday afternoon wreck in which a pickup truck crashed into another railroad bridge, killing the driver.

Authorities said the driver of the logging truck suffered non-life threatening injuries in the 7:20 p.m. crash on North Main Street. His identity has not yet been released.

When the logging truck struck the railroad bridge over North Main, it breached the 6-inch Tesoro fuel pipeline that runs across the bridge and into the Union Pacific rail yard.

About 20 gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto North Main Street as a result of the breach, prompting police to shut down the road between the Portneuf River and Garrett Way.

Pocatello firefighters and street department workers responded and began cleaning up the fuel.

The spill was entirely cleaned up and North Main Street reopened around 10:15 p.m. Authorities said none of the fuel made it into the Portneuf River.

Union Pacific inspectors responded to the incident and determined that the bridge itself was not significantly damaged during the accident, city officials said.

Firefighters said it was fortunate fuel was not moving through the pipeline when the breach occurred. If that had been the case thousands of gallons of fuel would have spilled onto North Main Street, causing a much larger hazardous materials incident.

The accident was the second time Thursday that Pocatello firefighters and police had responded to a vehicle crashing into a railroad bridge. Around 2 p.m. a pickup driven by a as yet unnamed Pocatello man struck the railroad bridge over Garrett Way, less than a quarter-mile from the North Main incident. The man died at the scene.

This article was originally published in the Idaho State Journal. It is used here with permission.