LEWIS COUNTY- Although there were no explosions or any other serious consequences from Wednesday’s tanker truck wreck on Route 177, authorities say it took a lot of careful planning and teamwork to ensure things didn’t go haywire.
“Due to this and the extreme risk potential (possible explosion) the Incident Commander began coordinating with State Police, NYS DEC Spill Response, NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control, NYS DOT, and the Safety personnel who responded from Sunoco (owner of the truck),” said Lowville Fire Chief Joe Austin.
“All these agencies and more would end up having units on this incident at one point or another to help coordinate with the IC. This coordination would lead to a 17-hour event for fire personnel.”
When all was said and done, the fuel from the tanker truck was successfully and safely transferred to other emergency units that were on-scene.
As of this report, emergency responders determined “some” fluids managed to leak out of the rig. No injuries were reported and Route 177 has since been re-opened to traffic.
Read the full summary from Lowville Fire Chief Joe Austin below:
"At approximately 9:58 am on 9/13/2023, the Lowville Fire Department was dispatched to a reported tractor trailer accident. It was reported that this was a fully loaded gasoline truck that was upside down. The driver was reported to be out of the vehicle and walking around.
Fire units responded and began to assess the situation. It was deemed that there were some fluids leaking but due to the extent of the damage and position of the truck it was impossible to determine how much and how fast it was leaking out. Due to this and the extreme risk potential (possible explosion) the Incident Commander (Lowville Fire Chief) began coordinating with State Police, NYS DEC Spill Response, NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control, NYS DOT, and the Safety personnel who responded from Sunoco (owner of the truck).
All these agencies and more would end up having units on this incident at one point or another to help coordinate with the IC. This coordination would lead to a 17-hour event for fire personnel.
Due to the extreme explosion and fire risks involved with this incident, it was determined that a large amount of foam would be required to be on site before any work could be completed on the truck itself. The Incident Commander (IC) then requested City of Watertown Fire Department who have a NYS Foam Trailer stationed at their facility and Fort Drum for their Airfield Crash Truck. Both units were available and responded to the scene.
Both units can produce large amounts of foam. The next issue identified was the need for a constant water source to supply the foam trailer. Due to it being a rural area with no pressurized hydrants, it was determined a tanker shuttle would be required to supply enough water. The IC determined that there was a pond on the Boshart road approximately 2 miles from the incident that would suffice to be a water source for the tankers.
This would allow for tankers to have a very short turn around time for supplying water. It was determined approximately 9-10 tankers would be needed for this incident, so tankers were requested from Martinsburg, New Bremen, Glenfield, Castorland Fire Departments all of Lewis County, as well as from Lorraine, Adams Center, and Rodman Fire Departments from Jefferson County. All units responded and met at a staging site where again the plans were determined as to how best to move forward.
We had back up engines at the fill site as well as on scene from Rodman and Castorland in case something happened to the primary engines being used to supply water.
Due to the number of resources that Lowville had on the scene; Martinsburg was requested to be on auto dispatch for all calls in Lowville’s district.
The responding mutual aid departments were also advised that only the units requested were needed, as the IC did not want to deplete those other departments of their units that were not needed on this scene.
It was determined this incident was going to be a long one due to the amount of safety considerations and resources that had to be considered with each objective.
Sunoco representatives arranged for an environmental company, trucking companies, and other tanker trucks to respond to the scene who would be responsible for transferring the fuel from the damaged truck to a new unit.
To do this because the unit was upside down, drilled holes had to be put into the tank to be able to access the fuel. Again, with each step, extreme caution and consideration had to be done to ensure it could be done safety without increasing the high risks that were already present.
Around 12:30 a.m. (9/14/23) the fuel had been successfully transferred from the damaged truck to the other vehicles on site, it was determined that the risk of fire and explosion had been significantly reduced and the foam was no longer required to be on site.
The fire response was able to be scaled down at this point, so all fire units other than Lowville units were released from the scene. Lowville Fire Units remained on scene until the tractor trailer was turned upright. Lowville Fire units cleared the scene around 2:30 a.m.
NYS DOT responded with units throughout the incident to ensure the road remained closed. At the time the Fire Department left the scene, State Route 177 was still expected to be closed for a while longer as there were still other clean up considerations that were needed to be considered.
The Lowville Fire Department would like to thank all agencies that has some part of responding to the scene yesterday.
OTHER SHOUTS OUT NOT INCLUDED IN THIS REPORT:
- Lowville Fire Auxiliary - Brought Food and Refreshments throughout the date and night.
- Gliders Oil - Brought fuel to refil all fire apparatus on site as they were running for long period of time
- Lewis County Search and Rescue - Responded initially to check on driver, remained in constant communication to determine if/when EMS was needed on site (thankfully it never was as there were no injuries).
- Lewis County Emergency Managment Office & Decon Team - Coordinated with IC throughout the incident and responded to incident once drilling operations commenced as the potential for hazardous material exposure was very high. EMS1, FC4 & FC6 helped coordinate and ensure this was considered throughout the incident.
- **Also a shout out to FC1 who was out of the area but still made himself available to the IC should a need arise. Jefferson County Emergency Management - Coordinating light towers to be transported to the scene as this was going to go through the night.
LEWIS COUNTY DISPATCHERS - THEY WERE WITH ME EVERY STEP OF THE WAY VIA RADIO WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES AS THEY ALWAYS DO AND MAKING SURE THE RESOURCES I NEEDED WERE DISPATCHED AND RESPONDING. THERE HELP A LOT OF TIME GOES UNNOTICED AND THIS WAS NOT THE CASE YESTERDAY!!! THEIR WORK AND SUPPORT OF OUR INCIDENT WAS GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!
I am sure that I forgot someone or an agency that assisted yesterday, and if I did, I apologize. We appreciate everyone who responded and assisted with coordination of this incident. And because everyone came home with their fingers and toes, and there was no boom it was a very successful day (long day but successful).
Again a small town response to something that we don't normally go to, working together with anyone and everyone, to get the job done!!!"
Lowville Fire Department image.