US 395 re-opened after spill

On July 26, 2014, at approximately 7:45 PM the scene on United States Highway (US)-395 was rendered safe by emergency crews after being closed due to an earlier incident that involved a hazardous material spill from a commercial motor vehicle.  At approximately 8:30 PM US-395 opened to through traffic.




UPDATE: 6PM Saturday:


The purpose of this press release is to provide information regarding the ongoing roadway closure on United State Highway (US)-395 from State Route (SR)-182 to State Route (SR)-270.


The preliminary information at this time indicates on the morning of July 26, 2014 a semi truck was traveling northbound US-395 near Point Ranch when the driver braked for deer crossing the roadway.  The cargo inside the box trailer shifted and began to leak. The driver noticing material leaking from his trailer pulled over south of Bridgeport, CA and requested assistance from the California Highway Patrol Bridgeport Area (CHP).  A CHP officer arrived on scene and determined this to be a possible hazardous material incident. US-395 northbound and southbound was closed for safety concerns from SR-270 to SR-182. Three individuals related to the incident displayed symptoms associated with exposure and were medically treated.  At this time CHP , Mono County Sheriff’s Office, Mammoth Lakes Fire Department, United States Marine Corp Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC) Fire Department, Bridgeport Fire Department, Lee Vining Fire Department, Care Flight, Mono County Health Department and California Department of Transportation (Cal-Trans) are on scene assisting with the  cleanup operations. A Joint Unified Command Post has been established on scene with CHP, Mammoth Lakes Fire and Cal-Trans.


It is anticipated the roadway will be closed for several more hours to facilitate cleanup.


SR-270 to Bodie State Park is currently open.


Alternate routes to avoid the area closed on US-395 includes State Route (SR)-167 and State Route

(SR)-182 out to Nevada. Motorist traveling on US-395 are urged to use these alternate routes to avoid delays.

If requesting additional information, please contact Officer M. Sept at the California Highway Patrol Bridgeport Area Office at (760) 932-7995.


UPDATE: 12:00PM: Hwy 395 CLOSED from SR 270 (Bodie Road) to Hwy 182 due to Hazmat Spill (south of Bridgeport)

A big rig carrying several unknown hazardous materials experienced a tank failure while driving southbound on Hwy 395, just south of the Caltrans sign in Bridgeport.

Hwy 395 is still closed to ALL northbound and southbound traffic from SR 270 (Bodie Road) to Hwy 182. Due to the location of the spill, there are no alternate routes around the spill to take traffic around this closure. If you are traveling north of Bridgeport, in the Nevada area, there are detours available. It is unknown as this time how long the road will be closed. If you can avoid this area, please do so.

This is a Hazmat spill of roughly 30 gallons of hazardous chemicals. It is estimated to be about a 20 foot by 30 foot spill on the ground along Hwy 395. Crews are on scene and an out-of-area Hazmat company is enroute to help with the clean-up effort.

There have been no injuries in this incident but the driver and two others were exposed to the hazardous chemicals. They have been transported to a local hospital, evaluated and released.

The residents of Bridgeport that live around the spill site have been evacuated and a shelter has been opened at the Bridgeport Elementary School.

More information and updates will be posted as they come available. Thank you! – Jennifer M. Hansen, Public Information Officer

Jennifer M. Hansen, MPS

Public Information Officer
Mono County Sheriff’s Office



 Hazardous Materials Spill


On July 26, 2014, at 0723 hours a big rig carrying several unknown hazardous materials experienced a tank failure while driving southbound on Hwy 395, south of Brigdgeport. Due to several unknown chemicals spilling onto the roadway, Hwy 395 will be closed for several hours for clean up to take place. No injuries were involved.


R. E. WEST, Sergeant
Acting Commander
CHP – Bridgeport Area



28 Responses to US 395 re-opened after spill

  1. Jennifer M. Hansen July 26, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

    Good evening, everyone! Hwy 395 is now open to all traffic. All responding agencies thank you for your patience in dealing with this spill, road closure and detours throughout the day. Please continue to travel safely!

    • Heh? July 27, 2014 at 12:52 am #

      Why are the substances unknown? Are not Hazardous Materials manifested and placarded for transport?

      • Lt. R. D. Cohan July 28, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

        Heh?, at the time of the press release, the substances had not been identified. When a gasoline tanker drives by you on US 395, you should see a red placard indicating hazard class three (flammable and combustible liquids) and United Nations (UN) number 1203 indicating the truck’s cargo tanks contain gasoline. In the above scenario, the truck’s entire cargo is a single commodity. It makes things relatively simple in terms of identifying leaking material from the cargo tank. However, most hazardous materials and “Other Regulated Materials” (ORMs) are not shipped this way. Many vehicles transport mixed loads, as was the case Saturday, when two of eight 55-gallon containers containing organic fertilizer were damaged. The truck was also transporting six other classifications of hazardous materials. The vehicle was displaying the following placards: “Class 5.2: Organic Peroxide Oxidizing Agent” and “Dangerous.” The “Dangerous” placard appears on mixed loads and loads which might include materials that are radioactive, flammable, explosive, corrosive, oxidizing, asphyxiating, biohazardous, toxic, pathogenic or allergenic. Until the truck had been completely unloaded and every container examined, there was no way to be sure what had spilled onto the ground. Not knowing what the product or products were required the most cautious, methodical, slow approach. The personnel initially arriving lacked fully encapsulated hazardous material suits, which must completely cover a firefighters entire body and self-contained breathing apparatus, allowing them to investigate which of the seven products inside the truck had spilled or had mixed with one another. There are nine major UN hazard classes. For more information on them go to: Each hazard class has rules about what other hazard class materials can be transported with them and in what quantities. For more information on “packing groups” for each of the nine hazard classes, search the Internet for “United Nations packing groups.” Since this incident involved Hazard Class 5, this link provides information on related packing groups, load segregation and compatibility:

        I would like everyone to please take a moment and consider there are times any of us could be transporting hazardous materials. Let’s say you are returning from the grocery store where you purchased a gallon of laundry bleach and some vinegar for the kitchen, you are involved in a collision and both containers are compromised. Now your vehicle could be filling with a poisonous gas. Please make sure small amounts of what many believe to be harmless commodities are safely secured for even short trips.

        • Heh? July 28, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

          Thanks Lt.
          My question/comment was made in response to the road open announcement. Is it safe to assume at that point the materials had been identified in order for the road to be cleaned and declared safe?

          • Lt. R. D. Cohan July 29, 2014 at 10:04 am #

            “Heh,” Yes, all involved materials have been identified and my understanding is that all clean up was completed Saturday night.

        • Charles O. Jones July 29, 2014 at 7:21 am #

          Thanks for the detailed response.
          Hopefully it will satisfy the impatient armchair quarterbacks amongst us.

  2. Trouble July 26, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    A few more details would be nice!

    • Lt. R. D. Cohan July 28, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

      “Trouble,” please see above….I did my best for being on vacation and out of the office.

      • Trouble July 29, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

        Wow LT, my comment came first, but you hold rank.

        • Lt. R. D. Cohan July 29, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

          “Trouble,” you are right, I apologize. Your post was eight hours before the post by “Heh?.” When I logged on to the post from “Heh?” was at the top. Again, my apologie, please consider my response to “Heh?” to be to both of you. Please don’t for a second think I was avoiding you “Trouble,” that’s not my style. My rank has nothing to do with it, I practice “subservient” leadership,” which for me includes the employees I work with and all of the individuals we are entrusted to protect. Thanks of the little poke on the topic; I’ll be careful to review the time of the posts I respond to in the future. Best wishes.

          • Trouble July 29, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

            LT I don’t care what I say about ya, your alright!

  3. mOngO tHe IDioT July 27, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    I’m really stupid yet not stupid enough to carelessly and unknowingly move a volume of hazardous material down the same corridor that supplies water to millions of people.
    I will however try to maintain a level of stupidity that reinforces the belief that everything is OK and Government has fixed it.
    I will achieve this goal with daily doses of television and a few million follow up sessions of mental laziness.
    It could also be that I am unqualified to understand what is being said in this article.
    Yea, that’s it…

  4. Norm Olson July 27, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    Manifests & placards certainly should be with the truck/driver. Why so secretive about was spilled? Has Virginia Creek, or Green Creek or Willow Springs been fouled/compromised? Inquiring minds want to know,… Bennett?

    • Lt. R. D. Cohan July 28, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      “Norm Olson,” there was no effort to be secretive, please just give us some time to get all the correct information together. Many of the responding personnel were assigned to this incident for 12+ hours. After that we have to get them home for a shower, some sleep and some food so they can come back to work the following day and complete the mounds of required documentation. Providing the details of more complex events like this one usually come the next business day. On Saturday we all made sure initial information was provided to our “media partners” regarding the event and the closure of US 395.

  5. Tony Cumia July 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    The spill happened where the CalTrans overhead sign are located south of town…the creeks were not affected

  6. sugar magnolia July 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    sheesh people. The driver was carrying a mixed load when something started spilling out of the vehicle. Did you expect him to expose himself to the hazardous substance longer so that he could clearly identify which barrel was leaking?

    My understanding is that two LEO’s driving by had to go to the hospital, so expecting the driver to put himself in harms way to see which barrel was leaking and read it’s placard is ridiculous.

    I’m sure they know now what substance was leaking, but they were unable to determine it until l haz mat crews with the appropriate gear arrived and could get close to the vehicle.

    My god….please use your brains before commenting.

    • Benett Kessler July 28, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

      Also, the Sheriff’s Office confirmed none of the spillage got into any of our waterways. BK

    • Heh? July 28, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

      Sugar, all our comments came after the road had been opened and declared safe. My brain says that in order to clean up they had to have identified the substances. No one criticized the driver or responders. Relax.

  7. Terry Ferkel July 28, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    My wife and I were driving the 26th on Hwy 395 south from Minden on our way to Lone Pine when we noticed some signage saying that the roadway was closed 8 miles ahead, we still had not crossed the Cal/Nev State line. The next sign said to detour to I believe it was Nevada SR 202 to Yerington Nevada. This detour was an absolute nightmare for us, the signs were almost non-existent! Had we known that the incident occurred 6 miles south of Bridgeport we could have detoured toward Hawthorne Nev. just outside of Bridgeport which would, i feel, been a much better route

    • Tony Cumia July 29, 2014 at 5:55 am #

      Good maps are very useful during vacations…SR202 through Yerrington…to Hawthorne….plenty of signs….ive done it dozens of times. Or just get out and ask someone.

      • Terry Ferkel July 29, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

        Tony you’ve done it plenty of times, it was our first time and there were lots and lots of signs, but not many detour signs and we really didn’t know that we were supposed to go in the direction of Hawthorne. Hopefully we won’t have to do it dozens of times….never want to do it again!

  8. Sierra Lady July 28, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    Thank you Lt. R. D. Cohan for that thorough and detailed reply with all the pertinent information.

    I was at a wedding in Mammoth that had been delayed as they waited for some of their guests from Reno to arrive via the detours. When one gentleman arrived after being in their car for hours longer than they anticipated I heard him say to another guest that “they” should have just washed the chemical off the road, opened the highway and let them pass.

    *Rolls eyes*

    B. Richter

  9. Lt. R. D. Cohan July 28, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    “Sierra Lady,” Ma’am, you are welcome and it is my pleasure. I know many people think of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) as just a red light in their rear view mirror. We are that, and I am proud of the manner in which our personnel professionally conduct enforcement contacts with motorists in a business like manner. The people that work for the CHP do so much more. Such as in this case, our people were emergency incident managers and protectors of both human health and the environment. In what place could environmental protection be more important than here? Together with all our public safety partners, this “mess” was safely cleaned up without any long-term effects to the environment. I am sorry US 395 was closed for as long as it was, but that is just the way things have to work when a spill occurs here in Mono County. “Washing off” an organic fertilizer into the roadside environment might make one, or two people happy, but I believe it was it would anger hundreds or thousands, and it is just not the right thing to do.

    • Philip Anaya July 29, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

      The red light in the mirror could also be slowing me down for a hazard on down the road. Thank you to the CHP and to LT RDC for keeping us all safe on the highway and for the info posted here . Your primary job and tasks may not include the great outreach to all of us but when you do, we appreciate the job, the tasks and the outreach and the information . When we are informed and treated as “citizens” most of us appreciate the CHP so much more even if the red light glows in the mirror .

      • Lt. R. D. Cohan July 29, 2014 at 8:57 pm #


  10. Terry Ferkel July 29, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

    “Organic Fertilizer” really, is that what everyone that worked that mess was told to say?

    • Lt. R. D. Cohan July 29, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

      United Nations HAZMAT Class 5 Oxidizing agents and organic peroxides

      Please feel free to contact the CHP office in Bridgeport if you have any questions we can answer. Respectfully, “Terry Ferkel,” I am curious if you read through the information provide above or any of the provided links to additional information.

  11. AR Hudson August 3, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    My thanks to the rangers at the Mono Lake Visitor Center. We were caught on the south side of the closure. We turned around and went to the center for advice. The ranger told us about the spill and showed a way to get around it (by going east to Hawthorne, NV). Although it added about 125 miles to our trip, it was better than waiting until 8:30 PM.

    We came home on 395 yesterday and didn’t notice a thing. Glad everything and everyone was okay and the beauty of the area was not compromised.


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