Tan­ker g­oes up in fla­mes

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Graaff-reinet -

GRAAFF-REI­NET — High lying a­re­as sur­roun­ding Graaff-rei­net we­re blan­ke­ted in snow on Sun­day, Ju­ly 16.

Whi­le most of the snow had mel­ted in­to a fros­ty slud­ge by Mon­day mor­ning, p­ho­tos and vi­de­os re­cor­ding Sun­day’s whi­te lands­ca­pes a­boun­ded on so­ci­al me­dia.

Whi­le beau­ti­ful to look at and play in, sno­w­fall ma­kes tra­vel­ling ris­ky, es­pe­ci­al­ly al­ong one of the dis­trict’s bu­siest ro­ads, the N9.

E­mer­gen­cy ser­vi­ces we­re on high a­lert throug­hout the wee­kend with two se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents occur­ring on the N9 be­t­ween the Loots­berg Pass and Graaff-rei­net.

On Sa­tur­day mor­ning just be­fo­re 05:00 the mu­ni­ci­pal fi­re bri­ga­de re­cei­ved a call a­bout a truck on fi­re a­bout 40km from Graaff-rei­net on the N9 to­wards Mid­del­burg. The of­fi­cers re­spon­ded im­me­di­a­te­ly and ar­ri­ved on the sce­ne at ap­prox­i­ma­te­ly 05:30 with the E­mer­gen­cy Me­di­cal Res­cue Ser­vi­ces.

A car­go tan­ker fil­led with un­pro­ces­sed die­sel was laying on its si­de on the ro­ad sur­fa­ce and hu­ge fla­mes en­gul­fed the sce­ne. The fi­re of­fi­cers im­me­di­a­te­ly star­ted to ex­tin­guish the fi­re u­sing the fo­am con­duc­tor. The die­sel le­a­king from the tan­ker al­so set the veld on fi­re, but for­tu­na­te­ly, the fi­re fig­h­ters ma­na­ged to stop the fi­re from re­a­ching the far­mers’ veld a­rea.

Af­ter ap­prox­i­ma­te­ly 35 mi­nu­tes, the fla­mes we­re ex­tin­guis­hed, and a­not­her fi­re en­gi­ne with ex­tra fo­am cans was re­que­sted to de­al with the spre­ad of the fi­re. The fi­re fig­h­ters then con­cen­tra­ted on se­cu­ring the un­pro­ces­sed die­sel spil­la­ges flo­wing in­to the veld that was still le­a­king from the tan­ker. As the­re we­re no re­fil­ling points, the ma­na­ger of Pro­tecti­on Ser­vi­ces, Chris R­hoode, dro­ve to Nieu­bet­hes­da to re­fill the fi­re en­gi­ne with wa­ter from one of the fi­re hy­drants the­re.

Soon the se­cond fi­re en­gi­ne ar­ri­ved, and the crew con­cen­tra­ted on ex­tin­guis­hing the smoul­de­ring a­re­as. W­hen R­hoode ar­ri­ved back on the sce­ne, he con­ti­nu­ed to cool the tan­ker off in pha­ses due to the ex­ces­si­ve he­at that had been ex­pe­rien­ced du­ring the fi­re.

In the me­an­ti­me, Traf­fic Con­t­rol and the SAPS could not es­ta­blish any con­tact de­tails of the com­pa­ny from the dri­ver in or­der to ar­ran­ge for ha­z­mat techni­ci­ans to as­sist with stop­ping the le­aka­ges of the raw die­sel con­tents.

La­ter, a f­a­ded land­li­ne num­ber on the bur­ned tan­ker was no­ti­ced and for­war­ded to of­fi­ci­als from the Pro­vin­ci­al Con­t­rol room who ma­na­ged to pho­ne the com­pa­ny. The com­pa­ny then in­for­med the R­hoode that t­hey ha­ve ma­de the ne­ces­sa­ry ar­ran­ge­ments to as­sist with the re­mo­val of the car­go tan­ker.

Short­ly be­fo­re 14:30 the bre­ak­do­wn ser­vi­ces we­re on si­te and star­ted with the re­co­ve­ry of the tan­ker to cle­ar the ro­ad.

“Our big­ge­st chal­len­ge du­ring the in­ci­dent was that on­ly one secti­on of the ro­ad was a­vai­la­ble to let mo­to­ris­ts pass by. We tried to keep the traf­fic flo­wing, but this was ma­de mo­re dif­fi­cult i­ni­ti­al­ly as w­hen we ar­ri­ved at the in­ci­dent, it was still dark and we had to per­form our du­ties wit­hout get­ting knoc­ked do­wn by mo­to­ris­ts pas­sing the sce­ne. Ca­re­ful use had to be ma­de of the fi­re en­gi­ne’s wa­ter so as not to run out be­fo­re the bla­zing tan­ker was ex­tin­guis­hed,” said R­hoode.

Me­an­w­hi­le, the Dr Bey­ers Nau­de Lo­cal Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty has is­su­ed an ur­gent war­ning to any mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty who mig­ht be in pos­ses­si­on of any of this li­quid. The car­go of the truck, alt­hough it smel­led li­ke nor­mal die­sel, is, in fact, a very low flash point flam­ma­ble li­quid in a raw sta­ge. It has been emp­ha­si­sed that the li­quid is highly flam­ma­ble and will ig­ni­te if it co­mes in­to con­tact with he­at, s­parks or fla­mes.

It could cau­se da­ma­ge to die­sel en­gi­nes, and con­tai­ners fil­led with this li­quid may ex­plo­de w­hen he­a­ted. The va­pour may form an ex­plo­si­ve mix­tu­re with air. In­ha­la­ti­on or con­tact with the ma­te­ri­al may ir­ri­ta­te or burn skin or ey­es.

Tho­se in the pos­ses­si­on of this li­quid should im­me­di­a­te­ly i­so­la­te any clo­thing or shoes if t­hey ha­ve be­co­me con­ta­mi­na­ted by being in con­tact with the li­quid.

The techni­ci­an from the ha­z­mat com­pa­ny ap­poin­ted to re­ha­bi­li­ta­te the sce­ne sta­ted that a­nyo­ne with this ma­te­ri­al must in­form the Fi­re Ser­vi­ces im­me­di­a­te­ly so that it can be de­stroy­ed.

Mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty are al­so war­ned not to buy any sus­pect “che­ap die­sel” as it can­not be u­sed in this raw sta­te, and as ex­plai­ned, is highly dan­ge­rous.

A furt­her ac­ci­dent occur­red on Sun­day e­ve­ning at a­bout 20:00 a­bout 40km from Mid­del­burg, al­so on the Loots­berg Pass. The dri­ver of a taxi lost con­t­rol and the vehi­cle o­ver­tur­ned, which set up a chain of col­li­si­ons in­vol­ving a­not­her three tax­is that col­li­ded with the o­ver­tur­ned vehi­cle. A Volks­wa­gen Po­lo then bum­ped in­to the tax­is. In all, 19 pe­op­le we­re ta­ken to Mid­del­burg Hos­pi­tal, and it was ex­tre­me­ly for­tu­na­te that the­re we­re no se­ri­ous in­ju­ries.

Newspapers in Afrikaans

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.