October 19, 2012
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext 247
Interstate 84 near North Powder Oregon re-opened following a eight hour closure Friday morning after a commercial vehicle hauling a load of Morpholine liquid corrosive stopped on the Exit 285 westbound off ramp and noticed a leak from the front of his trailer. Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers from the La Grande Area Command office assisted in the closure of the freeway and evacuation of several homes in North Powder area.
According to OSP Sergeant Kyle Hove, on October 18, 2012 at approximately 8:10 p.m., a UPS Freight commercial truck pulling a set of three trailers, one loaded with approximately sixteen 50 gallon plastic drums loaded with Morpholine UN 2054. The driver, Don Meeks, age 59, from Utah, noticed smoke coming from his front trailer and stopped at the Interstate 84 milepost 285 westbound off-ramp to check his vehicle. A nearby trooper from Baker City stopped to offer assistance when he reported a possible hazmat leak and began initiating protocol and for containment of the hazard.
This led to emergency responders establishing a standoff distance of approximately Â1/2 mile radius around the hazmat spill until the leak and contaminations were safely contained and removed by NRC Environmental Services of Kennewick, Washington.
North Powder Fire Department, ODOT, Union County Sheriff's Office, and Baker County Sheriff's Office assisted at the scene. ODOT coordinated clearing of the spilled load and vehicles.