Accident Avoided

April 2, 2007
Reported by Vince Atkinson

Authorities had their hands full in Sulphur Monday afternoon when a tanker truck malfunctioned and started leaking a dangerous gas.   While the area was being evacuated, emergency crews moved in.   A major accident was just avoided thanks to a quick response and a fast evacuation.

Robert Schexneider with the Sulpher Fire Department said, "It's pretty hectic right now."  That is how emergency crews described the scene just off Highway 108 in Sulphur Monday afternoon.   All the commotion surrounded an 18 wheeler that was spewing toxic butane gas. Schexneider said, "With the vapors from the butane it could ignite, depending on the mixture."

The driver of the truck pulled off Interstate 10 to grab a bite to eat and refuel, but his plans were put on hold when he realized his truck was a ticking time bomb.   Schexneider said, "We started evacuation of a tire repair shop, a paint store, and a motel to the north of us."  In fact, every structure within a quarter mile of the leaking truck was evacuated.

Fire crews suited up and did what they could to prevent sparks while more big riggs were brought in to unload the leaking truck and defuse this volatile situation.    The quarter mile evacuation surrounding the leaking truck was standard procedure.   Authorities say the evacuation is the first thing they do whenever the potential for a massive explosion exist.   The area in Sulphur just off of Highway 108 is now back open for business.