A traffic accident caused major havoc for businesses around Fife today as a tanker truck carrying 7,700 gallons of fuel overturned near Port of Tacoma road, spilling gas around the vicinity and causing both directions of Interstate 5 to close.
The truck upended at about 9:15 a.m. near the Port of Tacoma offramp. There were no reported injuries, but, according to the Tacoma Fire Department, one of the truck’s three 3,000-gallon tanks ruptured. With fuel leaking around the accident, State Patrol ordered the evacuation of a half-mile radius of the wreck. Several businesses remain closed after being forced to shut down because of the evacuation order.
Traffic backups were heavy all around the area. As of 12:28 p.m., all lanes of I-5 had reopened, though the northbound exit to Port of Tacoma road, as well as the overpass above the highway, remained closed. An employee at the nearby Travelodge on Pacific Highway in Fife confirmed “heavy traffic” in the area remained around 1 p.m.
Evacuated businesses weren’t the only ones impacted, either. The Port of Tacoma’s Fabulich Center remained open, though the facility’s social media cautioned that traffic made attending the Port Commission’s noon meeting difficult. And at the nearby Rodeway Inn & Suites on Pacific Highway, front desk clerk Kate Hassler confirmed that a fire alarm at the hotel was pulled around noon, though she said it was unclear if it was because “someone thought we had to evacuate, too, or if it had nothing to do with the accident.” Hassler said the hotel was evacuated for about 10 minutes.
A few miles north, another wreck on I-5 near Enchanted Parkway — this one involving a truck, an RV, and a car — injured two people and blocked four southbound lanes on the highway.