By Bob Uphues
A tanker truck spilling gallons of fuel on the roadway and at least one vehicle fouled up the evening rush hour on Wednesday, shutting down First Avenue between Plainfield Road and 31st Street for two hours.
At about 5 p.m., police received a 911 call from a motorist whose vehicle had just been doused with liquid that sloshed out of tanker truck that was northbound on First Avenue at Ogden Avenue.
According to Riverside Fire Chief Spencer Kimura, the top hatch of the tanker truck apparently was open. Whenever the truck came to a stop at a light, the contents of the tank spilled out from the top.
Emergency crews found that about 10 gallons had spilled into the roadway near Ogden Avenue in Lyons and between Forest Avenue and Parkview Road in Riverside.
After Lyons firefighters determined that the substance was not flammable, hazardous materials technicians from the Pleasantview Fire Protection District and Forest View Fire Department analyzed the liquid and determined that it was methanol.
Officials have not located the truck responsible for the spills. It continued north on First Avenue, its driver apparently unaware of the open hatch. According to Riverside Deputy Police Chief David Krull, there were no more complaints of liquid being spilled north of Riverside.
Police shut down both northbound and southbound traffic on First Avenue until about 7 p.m., said Krull.