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   Undertoad  Wednesday Oct 27 02:01 PM

10/27/2004: Fuel tanker crash melts bridge



xoxoxoBruce points to this group of photos from Ernie's House of Whoopass. This fuel tanker crashed and burned at one of Alabama's busiest highway interchanges during morning rush hour. Truck didn't handle the curve, overturned, and... WHOOM. Right under the bridge it all went up, creating a fire so hot that it literally melted the damn bridge. It's at the intersection of Interstates 20/59 and 65, now intersected a little more closely. They'll have to demolish and rebuild that, or at least lower the weight limit to one stout guy on a bicycle.



Almost nothing left of the truck!



Seven more images at EHOWA.



404Error  Wednesday Oct 27 02:24 PM

Bad year for melted bridges. Same thing happened in CT back in March, causing quite the traffic nightmare for weeks afterwards.

Quote:
"At the height of the heat, the actual bridge almost touched the ground, it went down so far, and then as the firefighters poured water and foam on the fire, it contracted, and it left that buckling effect," Rowland told reporters Friday morning.
IIRC the woman that caused the accident was ticketed for an improper lane change.


Cyber Wolf  Wednesday Oct 27 02:49 PM

I'm surprised that hasn't happened at the I-95/I-64/I-195 interchange area in Richmond, VA. That whole loop-de-loop is a bloody mess, especially if you're trying to get onto on I-195 from I-95 south. There's a lot of blind curves in the throughlanes.



BrianR  Wednesday Oct 27 02:51 PM

I wish there was a way for me to use these images in class tonight!



Trilby  Wednesday Oct 27 03:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianR
I wish there was a way for me to use these images in class tonight!
Another go-round in traffic school?


LabRat  Wednesday Oct 27 04:44 PM

suddenly I am craving a s'more...



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Oct 27 07:04 PM

A couple years ago in Springfield, MA, an LPG truck caught fire under I-95. They were affraid to try towing or even go near it for fear of setting off an explosion. They let it burn itself out. It only took a day and a half.



Griff  Thursday Oct 28 07:29 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianna
Another go-round in traffic school?
He's going pro if I'm not mistaken.


russotto  Thursday Oct 28 10:42 AM

Didn't this happen in Delaware a few years back? Burned ON the bridge, not under it. And tangentially related, there was the I-95 tire fire which destroyed the highway.



mmmBoy  Thursday Oct 28 01:13 PM

Down in the OC a few years ago a truck was carying hay for one of the theme parks. The load on the trailer caught fire but the driver didn't notice and drove for miles with a burning load of hay. The burning hay blew into the underbrush along the highway igniting miles of the I-5. The driver finally stopped when the fire reached the cab.



wolf  Thursday Oct 28 06:47 PM

I got a public safety page today regarding a hazardous materials incident at one of our nearby turnpike interchanges ... what was the hazardous material you may wonder? Fuel? Benzene? That acid that dripped out of the Alien if you managed to somehow hurt it?

Nope.

20,000 gallons of ... milk.

I don't know anything further about the incident, but some overtired, undertrained truckdriver must have hit the ramp too fast and lost control in one of our infamous decreasing radius turns ...



Cyber Wolf  Thursday Oct 28 07:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf
I got a public safety page today regarding a hazardous materials incident at one of our nearby turnpike interchanges ... what was the hazardous material you may wonder? Fuel? Benzene? That acid that dripped out of the Alien if you managed to somehow hurt it?

Nope.

20,000 gallons of ... milk.

I don't know anything further about the incident, but some overtired, undertrained truckdriver must have hit the ramp too fast and lost control in one of our infamous decreasing radius turns ...
Milk is pretty bloody hazardous if left to its own devices.


Guess  Thursday Oct 28 07:31 PM

Quote:
I'm surprised that hasn't happened at the I-95/I-64/I-195 interchange area in Richmond, VA.
Another Cellarite from Richmond! Way cool! Actually, I live in Hanover, but I go to school in Richmond.

One question- What happened to the driver? There's been no word on him- Did he survive or was he s'mored?


tw  Friday Oct 29 12:47 AM

Each picture is perfect for those who love the emotion attached to an event. That's not me. Why did this crash occur? What was the mistake he made so that all others never make that mistake again?

For example, where is the hole where that tanker crashed off the bridge? If it crashed off before the bridge and down the grass embankment, then why are the lower roadway guardrails intact? If this roadway has a sharp curve, then where is that curve?

In short, the pictures were taken from the perspective of hype and not from the perspective of facts. That, unfortunately, is what too many do - especially news reporters. I have no problem with rubberneckers slowing down to look at a crash IF and only IF it results in people learning not to make that mistake. Yes, I am rare. I don't like hype. I want to see every gory detail complete with blood and the dying face IF it provides significant fact. I want to see those gory details so that others don't censure important information.

Unfortunately these truck crash pictures are woefully short of information other than how seriously a bridge can be damaged by 5000 gallons of gasoline.


Some decades ago, a tanker was driving up the Schulkyll Expressway from NJ. A support member to trailer rear suspension broke free. The trailer continued on - no one warning him that a strut was dragging on the road. That strut caught the pavement when the truck was under/adjacent to 30th Street Station - the Amtrak and Septa rail station for Philadelphia. Fortunately the truck just emerged from 30th Street before the trailer upended creating a same type of fire.

IOW this story is probably little known because a big hype event did not happen. However those who are concerned with reality see no difference from this event AND what would have happened had the trailer upended under/adjacent to 30th Street Station. We are suppose to learn from events - not be enthralled by a 'cool' picture.

Recently, I smelled something familiar. So I changed direction to follow the smell. Caught up with a trailer where the brakes had locked and were in combustion. Smoke was heavy and woefully obvious. Others simply passed the truck and trailer without word. After much effort, I pulled the truck over. Surprised truck driver sat there with a fire extinguisher while calling for assistance. Same people who never made the effort to save potential victims in 30th Street station also never informed this truck driver of a potentially catastrophic event.

We don't even know if the truck driver survived in the topmost pictures. We have been provided so few facts from the pictures as to learn almost nothing. That's not cool.



xoxoxoBruce  Friday Oct 29 01:54 AM

From the link in UT's post;

Quote:
A fuel tanker crashed and burned at one of Alabama's busiest highway interchanges during morning rush hour today. The fiery wreck partially melted a bridge and could result in months of traffic problems while the overpass is demolished and replaced. The wreck -- which occurred at the intersection of Interstates 20/59 and 65 -- was the second such crash at "malfunction junction" since January 2002. Authorities said a tanker carrying fuel overturned in a curve about 7 a.m., spilling an estimated 9,000 gallons of fuel that erupted into flames and sent a huge column of black smoke skyward.
Nothing in the pictures or text about "tanker crashed off the bridge". The additional "Seven more images", Ut mentioned were at the link, show more of the crash scene. The guard rails are intact because he/she didn't hit them, the truck rolled. The link shows the crash scene, UT showed the fire damage, neither mention the fate of the driver which would be the human interest or emotional angle.
TW- You jumped the gun, an emotional mini-lecture without checking the complete story.......this time. :p
UT- It's always a good post when it stirs the imagination and curiosity to look into it further.


xoxoxoBruce  Friday Oct 29 02:07 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by russotto
Didn't this happen in Delaware a few years back? Burned ON the bridge, not under it. And tangentially related, there was the I-95 tire fire which destroyed the highway.
I-95 in Chester, PA. Full tanker of gasoline on a bridge, like the DE incident. Took a long time to fix while traffic had to share the parallel bridge.
There were two cars and the tanker involved on a bright Sunday morning. They blamed the tanker driver because he was dead and couldn't argue.


russotto  Friday Oct 29 03:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tw
For example, where is the hole where that tanker crashed off the bridge? If it crashed off before the bridge and down the grass embankment, then why are the lower roadway guardrails intact? If this roadway has a sharp curve, then where is that curve?
The tanker did not crash off the bridge. It crashed into the bridge from the roadway which passes under it. The curve is clearly visible in the second-to-last picture at EHOW.

http://www.aoanet.org/conditions/vision_conditions.asp


xoxoxoBruce  Friday Oct 29 07:56 PM

I don't think it crashed into anything. Looks like it rolled and spilled it's load while sliding parallel to the guard rail.



tw  Friday Oct 29 08:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by russotto
The tanker did not crash off the bridge. It crashed into the bridge from the roadway which passes under it. The curve is clearly visible in the second-to-last picture at EHOW.
If you are trying to tell me that that gentle curve in the distance was sufficient for a truck to roll a thousand feet down a highway, then it is your brain that needs a vision perscription - a direct reference to russottos intentional, irrelevant and personal insult link. Obviously, if that distant on ramp had anything to do with the crash, then there is far more to the crash than just a truck going too fast. But again - and even demonstrated by russotto's post - facts are irrelevant. Only hype and insults are important.

Clearly something more serious or complex happened. But we would never know. The photographer concentrated only on the smoke and ashes. He did not even show skid marks - which would have helped learn something. There is no text description. Where is an accident summary? Was he cut off by an aggressive SUV? Did another truck strike his trailer? Did his brakes fail or did he have to use brakes? Was he driving down that ramp at excess of 100 MPH? Was he sun blinded. Did bin Laden flash him a moon? What does that look like after 20 years of no toilet paper? Just more examples of how emotion is more important than the truth.


tw  Friday Oct 29 08:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by russotto
The tanker did not crash off the bridge. It crashed into the bridge from the roadway which passes under it. The curve is clearly visible in the second-to-last picture at EHOW.
If you are trying to tell me that that gentle curve in the distance was sufficient for a truck to roll a thousand feet down a highway, then it is your brain that needs a vision perscription - a direct reference to russottos intentional, irrelevant and personal insult link. Obviously, if that distant on ramp had anything to do with the crash, then there is far more to the crash than just a truck going too fast. But again - and even demonstrated by russotto's post - facts are irrelevant. Only hype and insults are important.

Clearly something more serious or complex happened. But we would never know. The photographer concentrated only on the smoke and ashes. He did not even show skid marks - which would have helped learn something. There is no text description. Where is an accident summary? Was he cut off by an aggressive SUV? Did another truck strike his trailer? Did his brakes fail or did he have to use brakes? Was he driving down that ramp at excess of 100 MPH? Was he sun blinded. Did bin Laden flash him a moon? What does that look like after 20 years of no toilet paper? Just more examples of how emotion was more important than the truth.


Cyber Wolf  Friday Oct 29 10:53 PM

A gentle curve can be anything but when you're moving a many-ton truck with cargo at speed. Just looking at the weather conditions at the time of the pictures...there's some pretty thick mist in the air. The accident happened at 7am. It's reasonable to say that there might have been a 0 ft ceiling (straight up fog, basically) instead of it hovering a few stories up. Also, a day like that suggests it was wet the night before, rainy, heavy mist, whatever. Road slickness might be a factor too. And again, the crash was at 7am. The driver may have been driving all night, or up really early and not at peak for driving in those conditions.

Also, the very first picture shows a shoot in the direction the truck had come from. You do see skid marks, just under the bridge. They're very short, which suggests it was right around there the truck lost control and flipped over. There's one picture on the EHOWA site that shows the pillars had large chunks around their bases without much charring on them. That would indicate the truck hit the pillars at speed, either during or right after it flipped, and knocked off those flakes of pillar. In the third picture UT posted, see how high on the bern the burn marks are? You can tell it's a bit of a distance from the crash site because the grasses in the foreground are rather large against the truck wreckage. Fuel must have splashed way up there. Something had to have propelled it way up there and a strike to the pillars at speed would have done so nicely.

I say: The truck was likely coming down that curve too fast. How fast, I don't know, but fast enough for the truck to loose control. If fog was a factor, the driver simply may have misjudged the length of the curve with little to no visibility. While turning leftward into the lanes, the driver senses a problem and tries to correct it and perhaps hits the brakes. The driver turns the wheel a little too hard to the left. I can only see one, maybe two skidmarks, from that first picture, so the truck may have already had wheels off the ground by the time it got under the bridge. The top end of the truck is already moving too fast to be corrected by the driver. Physics flexes its ugly muscles, the truck strikes the pillars top first, which breaks the fuel storage area and all of that is more than enough to produce tremendous heat or sparks. Fuel goes up in a blaze of glory. Truck gets the short end of the stick. At this point, still no word on the driver but there's a cooler on the ground a few feet from the wreckage of the cab. If driver was ejected, it was most likely fatal. If driver didn't get out, again most likely fatal. Honestly, I'll be surprised if driver made it out and hasn't died from injuries.

Now, all I need is to find an offical report to see how right/wrong I am



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Oct 30 05:06 AM

It's hard to tell exactly since the trailer has already been pulled out of there with the tractor still smoking. Merging traffic may have played a role.



cbane  Wednesday Nov 3 01:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tw
Each picture is perfect for those who love the emotion attached to an event. That's not me. Why did this crash occur? What was the mistake he made so that all others never make that mistake again?

For example, where is the hole where that tanker crashed off the bridge? If it crashed off before the bridge and down the grass embankment, then why are the lower roadway guardrails intact? If this roadway has a sharp curve, then where is that curve?
Here's a picture that my dad found which shows the area around the accident.



Quote:
We don't even know if the truck driver survived in the topmost pictures. We have been provided so few facts from the pictures as to learn almost nothing. That's not cool.
According to this, the driver wasn't hurt.

I was rather supprised to find this on the IOTD, because I go through over the damaged bridge on the way home, and next to it on the way to school.


xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Nov 3 09:30 PM

Excellent, Cbane! Welcome to the Cellar, stick around a bit and you might be amused.



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