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October 9, 1997
Gasoline Tanker Fire


(Click Thumbnail Photos to see a full size copy)

Slightly past midnight the YFD responded to a report of a tank fire on Central Park Avenue at the NY State Thruway (I-87) overpass.  The first arriving companies found that there had been a collision between a passenger auto and a tanker truck transporting 8,900 gallons of gasoline. The truck's cargo of gasoline was burning upon the companies arrival.  The driver of the truck escaped unharmed. The driver of the auto was killed in the accident.

The accident occurred directly under the I-87 bridge making a difficult fire even worse.

Just a few weeks prior to this call the YFD provided new master stream foam devices to some of our engine companies.  These devices are capable of delivering 400 gals of foam per minute and have a flowing foam reach of about 150'.

Two of the first arriving units were equipped with the new devices and  one of the companies had just completed their training with this equipment several days earlier.

Two foam master streams were placed into operation immediately. Each of these streams used app. 12 gals of foam concentrate per minute and the department used app. 650 gallons of foam concentrate extinguishing this fire.

When the companies extinguished the fire there was nearly 1,500 gallons of gasoline remaining unburned in the tanker.  Despite this effort the intense heat generated by the fire in this restricted area caused irreparable damage to the I-87 bridge necessitating the closure of I-87, one of the major roadways in the Northeast U.S.

A temporary bridge was put up a few weeks afterwards allowing I-87 to reopen.   Just 2 weeks ago the Governor dedicated a new permanent replacement for the bridge.   It had been completed in a remarkable time of only 4 months.

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2 Master Stream Foam Appliances put foam on burning tanker truck.  (I-87 overpass can be seen directly above flames)


Tanker Fire 1 (17682 bytes)
(Photo Michael Messar)





The outline of the tanker can be seen in these photos below.

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MstrFoam-2.jpg (41650 bytes)

After the fire was extinguished.  The damage to the I-87 bridge is clearly visible.

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(Photos Frank Becerra, Jr.)