Four IAFF Locals Respond to Methanol Tanker Fire
November 12, 2009 – Four Connecticut IAFF locals were called to the emergency scene after a tanker truck was reported on fire on I-95 in Fairfield, Connecticut, November 9. The truck was said to be carrying 6,800 gallons of methanol, a highly flammable liquid.
Initially, every available Fairfield Local 1426 fire apparatus plus the county’s HazMat team which consists of Local 1426, Norwalk Local 830, Wilton Local 2233 and Westport Local 1081 responded.
Both the north and southbound lanes of I-95 were shutdown so fire fighters and emergency crews could focus on dousing the fire and containing the hazardous material. Additionally, nearby residents were evacuated as a precaution.
“When fire fighters arrived, a lot of flames were coming from the tanker, so the first concern was to get the tanker cooled down as quickly as possible, preventing the tanker and the methanol inside from getting too hot and causing an explosion,” says Local 1426 President Bob Smith.
Foam trailers were on standby, but it became clear early on that the tanker’s tires, rather than the tanker itself, were on fire. (It would later be determined that a vehicle malfunction caused the tires to catch fire.) Therefore, fire fighters were able to use water to put out the fire.
Several I-95 northbound lanes were soon reopened, but were closed again after a vehicle accident and the offloading of the methanol from the tanker. Meanwhile, Fairfield Local 1426 fire fighters worked to prevent the spread of the liquid should the tanker rupture.
“This situation could have quickly gone awry if our fire fighters had not been close by and able to promptly to cool down the tanker,” says Smith. “The incident commander and Local 1426 member Scott Bisson and all of the fire fighters on the scene are to be commended for a job well done.”
Once the scene was cleared, all lanes were open to traffic. The incident spanned about six hours.
Article Courtesy of www.iaff.org, "Local Scene"