Tanker truck catches fire in Northport

NORTHPORT, Ala. (WIAT) – The tanker truck  was hauling eight thousand gallons of fuel when it turned over and struck a power line right next to the Montgomery Farm neighborhood. That’s according to Northport Fire Fighters who say it’s a miracle no one was killed.

The tanker truck was heading northbound on Highway 171 when it wrecked right past the entrance to the neighborhood. It happened about 20 minutes before 10 a.m., according to the Northport Fire Department.

“We found a tanker hauling 4500 gallons of diesel fuel, 3500 gallons of gasoline already on fire,” said Chief Bart Marshall of the Northport Fire Department.

Fire fighters say the truck struck a power line knocking live wires down into the road. The driver was injured, but  he was able to escape with his life.

“He was transported to DCH Tuscaloosa with what appears to be non-life threatening injuries,” said Marshall.  “He was very lucky. He obviously got out of there before the fire started, but God willing he was lucky.”

An enormous plume of black smoke could be seen for miles around as the wreckage burned for several hours.

“For environmental impact we chose to let it burn off for two reasons, one it’s in a contained space, if we put water on it or foam or that type stuff we’re just going to increase the environmental damage. So as long as it’s contained it’s better to let it burn off,” said Marshall.

“It’s a good idea, because it could go back down there in that little holler back behind where a lot of those homes are and contaminate the whole area. So it’s good it’s burning up,” said Jim Wright.

Firefighters aren’t sure what caused the wreck, but they say it looks like the tanker truck lost control going into the curve.  Highway 171 was closed at the intersection of Tom Montgomery Road for several hours, but people who live in the surrounding neighborhoods were allowed through.

The fire was finally out by late Friday afternoon. A number of utility crews were working to restore power and other services to the immediate area at sunset.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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