Video captures moment tanker flips on narrow street

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A tanker truck owned by Action Resources flipped on its side in the Heights area, blocking West 6th Street near Rutland for most of the day Tuesday and causing the neighborhood to be evacuated for several hours.

"We woke up to firemen knocking on our doors, telling us it was time to evacuate. It was a little startling, strange way to start the day," said realtor Amy McGee, who lives at the corner of the street and was among those evacuated.

The incident happened at about 5:40 a.m., and was captured on security camera. It showed the truck, being driven by Travis Bartges, attempt to make the right-hand turn from 6th Street to Rutland and then tipping over.

Officials say the tanker truck contains 7,500 gallons of ethanolamine, which is a colorless, viscous liquid or solid with an unpleasant, ammonia-like odor. The product did not spill outside of the container. Only a small amount of motor and hydraulic oil leaked from the truck.

"It is common for us to respond to 18-wheelers rolling over in these narrow streets in the Heights area," said Houston Fire Capt. Dana Brown. "They're not supposed to be back here."

Indeed, the city of Houston has regulations that prevent hazardous material-carrying commercial big rigs from entering city streets inside the 610 Loop. This particular driver's route was many miles from the Heights.

When asked, Bartges says a street sign saying "No Through Trucks" would have made a difference.

"Yes, I would not have come down this street," the driver said, "I had no idea."

Houston police aren't buying it. Sources tell Eyewitness News that the trucker was nowhere near his delivery destination, and believes he was trying to meet a friend in the area at 5:40 in the morning. Police say the trucker is facing several citations, and should know that large tankers are not allowed on narrow city streets.

"We would still like to see better signage saying 18-wheelers just cannot come through this area," said McGee.

A check with city of Houston shows a sign was once near the intersection. But, it probably disappeared after it was hit by a truck. The city should have a new sign installed within a day or two. It urges other residents who spot missing signs to call 311 so signs could be replaced.

Follow Miya Shay on Twitter and Facebook.
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.