UPDATE – Late Saturday the Ministry of Transportation said a full assessment of the damage to the bridge will be completed at first light on Sunday.

The bridge will remain closed until the extent of the damage is known.

DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – A tanker truck that caught fire early Saturday morning on the Pouce Coupe Bridge has caused significant damage to the bridge and leaked oil into the Pouce Coupe River.

According to the Ministry of Environment, a b-train tanker truck carrying petroleum crude oil was involved in an accident on Highway 49 while crossing the Pouce Coupe bridge. The accident resulted in a tanker truck fire approximately 5 km east of Dawson Creek, B.C.

Dawson Creek Fire Department, the RCMP and an Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) attended the scene. The driver was taken to the hospital.

The responding EERO conducted a site assessment upon arrival. The truck and trailer were mostly consumed by the fire. The bridge is closed until further notice. An engineer will assess and certify the bridge is safe for operation before it is re-opened.

Oil was observed on the bridge and there is some sheening on the Pouce Coupe river immediately below the incident site. An absorbent boom will be placed in the river downstream from the incident site.

Work is being done to clear a path to allow a picker to remove the truck from the bridge to allow for clean-up operations. A Recovery Specialist with the B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy will monitor the recovery phase of this incident.

The Highway remains closed at this time and a detour is available using the 207 Rd and Briar Ridge to Highway 2. No heavy vehicles are allowed on the detour route.