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UPDATE: Resident describes waking to tanker crash
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UPDATE: Resident describes waking to tanker crash

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WATERLOO – A massive diesel spill evacuated a Waterloo neighborhood for much of Thursday after a tanker truck crashed into a house.

One resident was inside the Ridgeway Avenue home and escaped injury, but the driver remained trapped in the crumpled semi, which had rolled and cracked a pole holding up a high voltage line.

“I was still in bed and boom. I thought, ‘What the heck?’” said Andy Olson, a retired Waterloo firefighter who has been living at the house for 32 years. He was asleep in a lower level bedroom on the corner of the home where the tanker truck crashed.

“I looked out what used to be my window, and all I could see was wreckage,” Olson said.

The truck blocked his front door, so he fled through the back door.

The Kwik Trip tanker was holding more than 7,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which flowed down the street, prompting authorities to evacuate homes within a 1,000–foot radius.

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Waterloo Fire Rescue’s hazardous materials team was called to contain the fuel spill while other firefighters freed the driver with the help of an earth mover that shored up the debris.

“We diked off the majority of the storm sewers in the area. DNR was called. We used pretty much all of our specialized equipment from airbags to some of our larger tools. We put down some foam for extreme caution,” said Fire Chief Pat Treloar.

The driver was taken to MercyOne Medical Center for treatment.

Before striking the house, the semi apparently hit a minivan near the intersection of Ridgeway and Hammond Avenue — causing minor injuries to that driver — and then plowed into two parked SUVs in a neighboring driveway.

Police said the crash started with a bizarre call about a disturbance near the Kwik Trip fuel blending facility on West Ridgeway Avenue. The driver had apparently crashed a lone semi cab through a chain link fence at the compound and then became stuck in a group of trees.

He then climbed into the tanker truck and sped off down Ridgeway Avenue, according to police.

Officers began to search for the vehicle and spotted it near the intersection of Kimball and Ridgeway. As police turned to catch up and regained sight of the vehicle, it crashed into the house.

Photos: Fuel tanker crashes into Waterloo home

A fuel tanker crashed into a Waterloo home just before 6:45 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020.

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Waterloo firefighters at the scene of a fuel tanker crash on Thursday, Aug. 20. The tanker crashed into a home at Hammond and Ridgeway avenues.

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Firefighters worked to free the driver of a fuel tanker that crashed into a home at Hammond and Ridgeway avenues in Waterloo.

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Waterloo Police at the scene of a fuel tanker crash at Ridgeway and Hammond avenues in Waterloo.

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A Kwik Trip fuel tanker crashed into a Waterloo home at Hammond and Ridgeway avenues just before 6:45 a.m. Thursday in Waterloo.

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Waterloo firefighters work at the scene after a fuel tanker truck crashed into a home Thursday at Hammond and Ridgeway avenues.

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Waterloo firefighters at the scene of a fuel tanker crash on Thursday, Aug. 20. The tanker crashed into a home at Hammond and Ridgeway avenues.

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Waterloo Police at a fueling facility on Ridgeway Avenue where a disturbance occurred before a fuel tanker crashed into a Waterloo home on Thu…

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Waterloo Police at a fuel facility on Ridgeway Avenue where a disturbance occurred just before a fuel tanker crashed into a Waterloo home.

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Police who were headed to a disturbance at a Kwik Star fuel facility on Ridgeway Avenue were notified about a fuel tanker striking Waterloo ho…

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Kwik Star fuel blending facility under construction on West Ridgeway Avenue. Photographed Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, in Waterloo, Iowa.

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Crews from West Central Environmental Consultants flushed storm sewer lines and set up equipment to skim fuel from Dry Run Creek Friday follow…

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Crews from West Central Environmental Consultants flushed storm sewer lines and set up equipment to skim fuel from Dry Run Creek Friday follow…

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Crews replace contaminated soil with clean dirt Wednesday about a week after a biodiesel tanker crashed into a home at 1420 Ridgeway Ave., Waterloo.

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