Firefighters avert explosion in Millvale tanker truck blaze
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Millvale firefighters prevented a disaster Tuesday night when they extinguished an engine fire on a tractor-trailer carrying 9,000 gallons of fuel.
"Their quick response and quick suppression diverted a catastrophe," said Alvin Henderson, acting chief of Allegheny County emergency services.
Firefighters were able to put out the fire before it spread from the truck's engine to the trailer. No one was injured.
The driver of the Sunoco tractor-trailer carrying gasoline told firefighters he noticed smoke coming from under the hood and began to lose power shortly after he left a gas station at Butler Street and 40th Street in Lawrenceville.
The tractor-trailer broke down on Evergreen Road and Friday Street in Millvale around 8:45 p.m. Then the engine compartment caught fire, fire officials said.
Seven homes on Evergreen were evacuated and residents were displaced for several hours.
One homeowner, Shannon Case, 29, who lives on Evergreen said her cell phone started ringing and she could hear a commotion outside her home. When she finally answered her phone, she understood why.
"They said, 'Are you home? Are your kids home? Get out!" she explained. "I looked outside and saw billowing smoke and fire."
The tractor-trailer was stopped feet from her door.
Ms. Casey took her sons, ages 2 and 5, down the street to Sidelines Bar and Grill, where she tends bar. Employees there quickly evacuated patrons and were preparing to leave when Millvale firefighters arrived.
Firefighters attacked the blaze and were able to put it out within three minutes of arriving on scene, officials said. Crews from four other departments also responded to the fire.
A hazmat crew contained diesel fuel leaking from the tractor. Emergency crews waited as a second Sunoco tractor-trailer arrived on scene to transfer the fuel to a new tanker.
Millvale Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Grimpe said the fire was likely the result of a mechanical failure.
First Published August 8, 2012 12:39 am