HMN-New Waverly firefighters arrived on scene in just enough time to see the relief valves start to spew during a fire that involved a spent motor oil carrying tanker. The firefighters swift intervention prevented a much larger incident. (ItemOnline)
New Waverly firefighters helped thwart a potentially dangerous situation with a quick response time Tuesday.
Members of the New Waverly Fire Department were alerted to an 18-wheeler fire just before noon. Initial reports indicated that the truck was located on the southbound side of Interstate 45 just south of FM 1375.
Firefighters were on the scene within only a couple of minutes. As they approached the vehicle, they reported fire and heavy black smoke coming from the truck, threatening to spread to its cargo, which was several thousand gallons of used motor oil.
Just as the fire crews arrived, a safety relief valve on the tank truck vented excess pressure built up inside the tank as the fire heated up its contents. Firefighters immediately began to cool the tank while applying water and firefighting foam to the fire itself. The fire was quickly extinguished, preventing what could have been a catastrophic failure of the tank had the fire continued to grow.
Traffic was shut down on both I-45 and the feeder road as firefighters deployed their hose lines. After firefighters knocked down the fire, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers were able to open one southbound lane, preventing what potentially could have been an extended traffic jam.
Incident Commander Steven Billnoske stated that although the fire was extinguished almost immediately, crews continued cooling the tank until it was deemed safe. The fire was under control within 10 minutes of the initial 911 call and fire crews released the scene to DPS and the Texas Department of Transportation by 12:45 p.m.