OVERTURNED GAS TANKER INCIDENT CLEARED AND ROADWAY REOPENED
UPDATE - (Dacula, Ga., March 2, 2021) – At 5:26 a.m., fire personnel responded to the report of an auto accident with possible injuries at the intersection of Braselton Highway NE and Hamilton Mill Parkway NE in Dacula. The 9-1-1 caller reportedly saw a tractor trailer rollover as it was making a turn.
Initial reports expressed concern over the driver’s ability to remove himself from the cab of the truck. Upon their arrival, firefighters found the driver outside of the truck walking without assistance and no other vehicles involved in the accident. However, the entire tractor trailer was laying on its right side. It was communicated to the Incident Commander that the tanker was carrying approximately 8,500 gallons of fuel. The auto accident was immediately upgraded to a Hazmat incident as fuel was rapidly leaking into the storm drain. Braselton Highway and Hamilton Mill Parkway was shut down from the Interstate 85 overpass by officers from the Gwinnett County Police Department. Once the Hazmat team and additional fire apparatus arrived, a hot zone of 500 feet was established. Fire equipment prepped with foam was set up in case the fuel ignited. Firefighters evacuated three businesses within that area for precautionary reasons (The Discovery Point Daycare, QuikTrip, and BP gas station) and did not allow access to the PNC Bank next to the QuikTrip.
A damage assessment of the tanker revealed two leak points. One leak was at the dome located at the top of the tanker and the second leak was at the very rear. Approximately 3,000 gallons of fuel entered the storm drain before it could be contained with diking and damming equipment. A nearby pond at the Hamilton Mill Golf Club is where the fuel was finally contained. The Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources worked in conjunction with a cleanup crew and the United States Environmental Protection Agency in determining the safest and most efficient way to remove the fuel from the pond and storm drain. The Gwinnett Department of Transportation assisted with absorbent products and strategies to clean the roadways.
With approximately 5,500 gallons of fuel remaining inside of the tanker, a plan was devised to transfer it to an offloading truck. Five holes were drilled in different locations on the tanker and used as access points to siphon the fuel. At the time of this writing, the tractor trailer was not ready to be placed upright, but Willard Wrecker Service sent two heavy duty wrecker tow trucks in preparation for that task.
The Hazmat team metered the area throughout the day and never had readings that showed residents were ever in danger. The driver of the truck did not have any medical complaints, but paramedics still performed a thorough head-to-toe assessment. No injuries were found, and the driver signed a medical release form after declining transport to a hospital. The scene was cleared, and the roadway was reopened at 5:43 p.m.
EQUIPMENT AT THE SCENE INCLUDED: 2-Fire Engines, 1-Ladder Truck, 2-Squads, 1-Hazmat Truck, 1-Air & Light Truck, 1-Medical Unit, 2-Battalion Chiefs, and 2-Public Information Officers.