Propane truck overturns in Shelburne

  • Emergency vehicles respond to a leak from an overturned Suburban Propane truck on Zerah Fiske Road in Shelburne. STAFF FILE PHOTO/ANDY CASTILLO

  • Emergency crews stand a few hundred yards from an overturned propane truck at the incident command post in Shelburne on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/ANDY CASTILLO

  • Emergency crews stand a few hundred yards from an overturned propane truck at the incident command post in Shelburne on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/ANDY CASTILLO

  • Colrain firefighters set up a drop tank on Zerah Fiske Road in Shelburne to shuttle water in from elsewhere and fight fire without a hydrant in case of an emergency. STAFF PHOTO/ANDY CASTILLO

  • Colrain firefighters set up a drop tank on Zerah Fiske Road in Shelburne to shuttle water in from elsewhere and fight fire without a hydrant in case of an emergency. STAFF PHOTO/ANDY CASTILLO

  • Colrain firefighters set up a drop tank on Zerah Fiske Road in Shelburne to shuttle water in from elsewhere and fight fire without a hydrant in case of an emergency. Staff Photo/Andy Castillo

  • Colrain Fire Department sets up a drop tank on Zerah Fiske Road to shuttle water in from elsewhere and fight fire without a hydrant in case of an emergency. STAFF PHOTO/ANDY CASTILLO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/12/2019 10:48:10 AM

SHELBURNE — A residential liquid propane truck owned by Suburban Propane slid off Zerah Fiske Road about a half-mile from Lucy Fiske Road on Thursday morning, prompting a significant response from area emergency crews.

At around 10 a.m., officials reported an active leak with the delivery truck on its side. The initial 911 call came in at 9:17 a.m., according to Shelburne Police Chief Greg Bardwell.

There were no injuries and the driver got out without any problems. Regardless, responders took many precautions, setting up a wide perimeter.

Houses within a half-mile of the site were evacuated. Zerah Fiske Road, where the incident happened, was shut down at Lucy Fiske Road to the east and on the other side of South Shelburne Road.

“If it was to ignite, it would be a rather large explosion,” Bardwell said. “It’s leaking. There is a positive leak right now.”

“When it overturned, it broke a valve on the truck,” said Shelburne Center Fire Chief John Taylor. “What we’ve been doing initially is to isolate the neighborhood. There were less than 10 homes that were involved. Those have been evacuated.”

State incident management officials set up a command post a few hundred feet from the truck, which could be seen resting on its side around a winding corner with its hazards still blinking.

Responders from the state’s Tier I Hazmat crew monitored air quality. Firefighters from Colrain and Shelburne set up a drop tank in case a water shuttle operation was necessary. An official from the state Department of Environmental Protection was on hand to make sure there wasn’t any impact to the environment. State Police cars idled nearby.

By 12:30 p.m., the fire chief said responders had managed to close the valves and stop the propane flow. Rose Ledge Company, an Erving-based towing company, righted the truck with winches. After that, responders assessed whether the propane needed to be removed before removing the truck during the afternoon.

“It’s going to be more effective to right the truck before we do the next step. And the next step will be to be determined as we better assess it,” Taylor said, estimating the road would be shut down a good portion of the day, hours at least. He said the environmental impact was “relatively minor.”

In addition to many area fire departments that responded, members of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office brought lunches, an ambulance from American Medical Response idled nearby and a massive state rehabilitation truck provided a place for emergency workers to get out of the driving rain.

“We involved our mutual aid partners — we have Colrain, Shelburne, Shelburne Falls and Greenfield fire departments here,” he said, noting assistance from Charlemont, Conway, Erving, Deerfield and Buckland in addition to the state hazmat team. “So far so good. The name of the game is to keep people safe while we get it resolved.”

Andy Castillo can be reached at acastillo@recorder.com.




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