Gaviota Tunnel Tractor Trailer Accident

December 2002

On December 19, 2002, Engine 18 responded to a single vehicle accident on the North Side of the Gaviota Bridge involving a tractor trailer rig.

Both the CHP and the truck driver can be seen above warning traffic to slow down through the Gaviota Tunnel.

The truck struck the walls inside the Gaviota Tunnel before finally jackknifing just outside of the tunnel exit on US Hwy 101. We insisted that the driver allow us to be able to check him out. Firefighter Jason Orr can be seen above taking vital signs. The driver suffered no injuries and declined medical treatment at a hospital.

The tractors oil pan was damaged during the accident releasing a significant amount of oil onto the roadway. Additionally, a damaged fuel tank cap allowed diesel fuel to also  spill onto the highway. With no life loss or injury, attention was drawn toward preventing product from flowing into nearby Gaviota Creek.

A heavy duty wrecker provided the tow services to remove the tractor trailer from the side of road.

Situations such as this require immediate notification and response from other agencies besides the Fire Department and CHP. California State Parks, Fish and Game and Cal Trans responded.

Representatives from Santa Barbara County Fire Hazmat Unit (HMU) and a California State Park Ranger responded to oversee the cleanup operations.

Cal Trans personnel distributed absorbent materials to enable clean up the spilled materials.

Cal Trans workers swept collected all the absorbed hazardous materials.

The collected absorbed oil and diesel fuel was then placed in a 55-gallon drum for appropriate disposal.

As soon as the cleanup was completed, it started to rain again on the North side of Gaviota Tunnel...

There wasn't any rain on the South side of Gaviota Tunnel but traffic was backed up...

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Updated January 7, 2003

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