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Army tanker spills jet fuel in crash on Richardson Highway

A U.S. Army tanker overturned on the Richardson Highway Sunday afternoon, spilling an unknown amount of fuel. The accident was at MP 317, south of Harding Lake. (Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation)

A U.S. Army tanker truck went off the Richardson Highway on Sunday afternoon, spilling an undetermined amount of jet fuel, officials said.

The truck was carrying 2,600 gallons of fuel when it rolled onto its side, said Tom DeRuyter, on-scene coordinator for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

The truck had been in the ditch overnight at Mile 317 of the Richardson Highway, near Harding Lake and south of Eielson Air Force Base, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. It was loaded onto an Army flatbed truck around 3 p.m. Monday, DeRuyter said.

Fuel had leaked from a truck vent, DeRuyter said. While the vent was quickly plugged with absorbent material after the accident, fuel continued to drip from the vent, DeRuyter said.

The fuel is known as jet propellant 8. It's widely used in the military and is similar to diesel, DeRuyter said.

DeRuyter said the accident was reported at 1:22 p.m. Sunday. The truck had been heading from U.S. Army base Fort Greely near Delta Junction to Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, DeRuyter said.

Army Lt. Col. Martyn Crighton confirmed that the overturned vehicle was an Army truck and not a contractor's.

Crighton wasn't sure how many people were in the truck when it rolled but said there were no significant injuries.

"Expect lane closures and delays when traveling through the area," the DOT wrote on its Twitter page. "Be prepared to stop and watch for maintenance equipment on the roadway while vehicle recovery is being performed."

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that the fuel was leaking from a hole in the truck; this has been corrected to say that the fuel was leaking from a vent. 

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