Truck Driver Is Rescued As Naphtha Tanker Burns

Truck Driver Is Rescued As Naphtha Tanker Burns

Blazing naphtha in wrecked tanker is controlled by Weatherford, Okla., fire fighters.

Weatherford Daily News photo by Foster Johnson

A tank truck loaded with 8350 gallons of light naphtha collided head-on with a small automobile in dense fog near Weatherford, Okla., last Feb. 15 and began to burn.

The Weatherford Fire Department, which protects a town of 13,000 people with nine paid members and 11 volunteers, received the first call from a county sheriff at 7:40 that Monday morning. The first unit was on the scene at 7:48.

In addition to the fire, we found that three 4000-volt primary electrical lines had fallen next to the truck. The truck driver was trapped and injured, and the other driver was in the middle of the road, dead from the crash.

No hydrants

The scene was away from any water supplies. At 7:50 the first 750-gallon county tanker arrived. But it was obvious we were going to need more equipment and personnel. The department’s 500-gpm pumper was dispatched.

Captain Dean Brown arrived and took charge of the scene. Some fire fighters attempted to attack the fire while others worked on freeing the driver. The 1 ½ -inch preconnected line was shut down to conserve water. It was replaced with a 1-inch booster line fog pattern directed between the rescue operation and the burning tank. Just as the water ran out, another pumper arrived.

More men and foam were needed, so another call went out. The Clinton Fire Department responded from 17 miles away with a 1000-gallon tanker, 40 gallons of foam and personnel. The 3M Company sent 50 gallons of Light Water from Weatherford.

Mutual-aid mud

Because oil Fields were nearby, a request was made for mud and water transport trucks. The Vacco Mud Company sent two 7000-gallon transports.

The driver of the burning truck was removed an hour and five minutes after the accident and taken to the Weatherford Hospital. Two Weatherford fire fighters were treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, and the department finally left the scene at 1:00 that afternoon—but not before the truck driver was released from the hospital and returned to watch the salvage operations. He received 26 stitches.

During the rescue operation, a motel fire broke out back in town. One room was gutted, but the six available fire fighters contained the fire there.

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