RICHMOND -- Guests at a hotel were evacuated and both directions of a freeway exit were closed for several hours Monday after a tanker truck carrying propane tipped over, authorities said.
No one was injured, and the propane did not ignite, but the spill forced guests from the America's Best Value Inn on Carlson Boulevard to evacuate for safety reasons, California Highway Patrol Officer James Evans said.
A hazardous materials team siphoned the propane from the tanker. The driver was pulling two trailers of propane when he drove onto the eastbound Carlson Boulevard onramp at Interstate 80 just before 3 a.m., Richmond police Capt. Mark Gagan said.
The second trailer turned over as the driver negotiated the onramp, Evans said, but the tanker, which was carrying 4,500 pounds of liquid propane, did not rupture, Richmond police Lt. Arnold Threets said. The CHP originally said kerosene was in the tanker, but that report was amended later Monday, authorities said.
A hazardous materials team siphoned about half the propane from the tanker, which had been disconnected from the truck, Gagan said. Police were investigating whether the tanker was light enough to be allowed on Carlson Boulevard.
The tanker carrying the propane bore a Chevron logo, but it was not known immediately which company owned the truck. It did not spill propane onto the roadway, Evans said.
Police closed the freeway offramps in both directions after the spill and reopened the westbound offramp at 11:49 a.m., Evans said. The eastbound offramp remained closed until about 5:47 p.m. Monday.
The guests were asked to leave around 6 a.m., said hotel manager Anil Kumar, who added that authorities gave hotel management the same estimate of "about 3 or 4 hours" until guests will be allowed back in their rooms since about 8 a.m. Monday morning. There was still no word on possible re-entry as of 4:30 p.m. Monday.
"We have a crew of about 20 people who work at the Chevron refinery, so they went to work this morning and have not come back," Kumar said. "Some guests are here for the 49ers game -- they've just been milling back and forth, going to Starbucks, getting coffee."
Kumar said authorities and hotel management will begin the process of relocating guests should they still not be allowed back in the hotel come nightfall.
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Staff writer Tom Lochner contributed to this story. Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.