710 freeway Update: 2 southbound lanes reopen after fiery big rig wreck (video)

Courtesy Caltrans

Crews clear the southbound lanes of the 710 freeway after a big rig crashed and dangled from the roadway, leaking 8,000 gallons of ignited gas onto the road below.

A crash involving a big rig truck closed down both lanes of the 710 freeway Sunday and caused a fire to spill onto the freeway and the street below, California Highway officials said. Northbound lanes and two southbound lanes have since been reopened. The remaining three lanes are expected to be open by Monday morning's commute.

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Updates

710 Freeway fire

 
Update 7:20 p.m.: 2 SB lanes reopen, remaining 3 to open by morning commute
 
Caltrans officials say 2 southbound lanes of the 710 freeway have been reopened, and the other three will be reopened by Monday's commute following a fiery big rig crash Sunday.
 
Caltrans tweeted Sunday night that they expect all five lanes to open by Monday morning.
 
 
Update 5:20 p.m.: Caltrans still reviewing structure; SB lanes remain shut
 
California Highway Patrol officials say Caltrans is continuing its review of the 710 bridge that was the scene of a fiery crash Sunday. 
 
Caltrans is considering whether the structure is sound enough to reopen before Monday traffic. 
 
The CHP had tweeted earlier that southbound lanes would be closed until 5 p.m. Officials say the lanes will remain closed until Caltrans finishes its assessment.
Update 3:10 p.m.: Train tracks shut down; Caltrans to assess overpass' condition
 
California Highway officials say southbound lanes of the 710 will be closed to traffic until at least 5 p.m. Sunday. They've also told KPCC two railroad tracks beneath the freeway have been closed. 
 
CHP officer James Kuo said crews are working to remove the burnt out husk of the trailer from the road. Following that, they'll work to assess and clean up the 8,000 gallons of oil that spilled onto the freeway. Meanwhile, Caltrans officials will determine the damage done to the structure. 
 
"Tow trucks are in the process of recovering whatever's left of the burnt tractor trailer," said Kuo. "Then the clean up of the crude oil is going to be next. Then it's going to the assessment of the condition of the overpass by CalTrans."
 
A Caltrans spokesman told City News Service it could take some time before the area is reopened. 
 
"We have 50 feet of destroyed bridge railing, 60 feet of destroyed guard rail, an overhead sign that is damaged, and crude oil in storm drains,'' Caltrans spokesman Patrick Chandler told CNS. "We're going to have to keep things closed until the engineers can look at the pavement and the bridge.''
 
The big rig hit the freeway's barrier with such force that it broke through and dangled over the edge of the freeway, Kuo said, leaking oil onto the road and train tracks below.
 
Two tracks directly beneath the freeway, part of the Hobart Rail yard, have been closed. 
 

Update 1:07 p.m.: Only 1 tanker involved, driver escaped from hanging big rig

L.A. County fire officials are saying only two people were injured and only one truck was involved in a big rig crash that shut down the 710 Freeway Sunday.

The big rig was left hanging over the side of the freeway near the Commerce railway yard, when it caught fire, leaking burning crude oil onto cars and the street below. 

"Part of [the truck] was on the freeway; the other part was hanging over the side of the freeway," said L.A. fire captain Brian Jordan. "Firefighters found flame on the freeway, going down the gutter, down the storm drain and over the side of the freeway. Firefighters also found fire burning on the street below."

Jordan said several cars and a truck were burnt on Sydney Drive, 70 to 100 feet beneath the freeway, along with a billboard on display next to the freeway. 

The truck driver was able to free himself from his burning cab and onto the street below, where firefighters helped him, Jordan said. 

A civilian who had been on the street below the freeway was also injured and taken to hospital, Jordan said. 

He corrected earlier reports that stated three people were injured.

California Highway Patrol officer Monica Posada said the driver was taken to the hospital severely burned and remains in critical condition.

Posada said an estimated 8,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from the big rig.

NBCLA.com has some dramatic video from the scene on their site: 

Update 11:40 a.m.: Northbound lanes reopen

California Highway Patrol officials say the northbound lanes of the 710 freeway have been reopened. The accident occurred on the southbound side of the highway. Those lanes remain shut. 

From @chpsouthern:

11:30 a.m.: 710 Freeway closed in both directions after big rig wreck

An accident involving two tractor trailers closed both sides of the 710 freeway in Commerce just north of Washington Sunday morning.

The accident resulted in a fire, spewing thick black smoke over the freeway as drivers at in the gridlock.

Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Brian Jordan says three people were injured and taken to local  hospital. Firemen extinguished the fire by about 11 a.m.

The accident occurred just south of the Santa Ana Freeway.

City News Service reports that residents of a small neighborhood just southwest of the
interchange of the 710 and 5 freeways were evacuated as a precaution. 

Houses were evacuated in a small neighborhood just southwest of the interchange of the 710 and 5 freeways, near Sydney Drive at Dunham Street in the City of Commerce. Wreckage fell next to an overpass of the 710 freeway over a set of railroad tracks.
   

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