Driver said brakes locked up; fire crews keep flames from reaching fuel
CULVER, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A fuel tanker truck burned at the weigh station on Highway 97 south of Culver Friday morning, but Jefferson County firefighters said they were able to keep the flames from reaching 3,400 gallons of fuel or an empty tanker trailer it was towing.
The fire at the southbound ODOT weigh station near Juniper Butte prompted Jefferson County sheriff's deputies and Oregon State Police to close Highway 97 in both directions at milepost 108 for about an hour.
Jefferson County Fire District No, 1 responded around 6:45 a.m. to the reported fuel tanker fire, Fire Chief Brian Huff said.
Incident Commander Jim Brown arrived to find a semi-truck/fuel tanker with trailer hauling gasoline, with the fire involving the back of the truck and rear of the tank on the truck. The trailer was not yet involved, Huff said.
The fire district responded with an Airport Crash Rescue Firefighting (ARFF) truck, two structure engines, a water tender and two duty officer vehicles, Huff said.
The ARFF made the initial knockdown of the tanker fire and the others helped put out the blaze. Damage was limited to the rear of the tanker truck and rear part of the fuel tank, Huff said.
Fire crews were able to save the front half of the fuel tank, the cab/front end of the truck and the empty fuel tanker trailer.
Huff said the fire was caused by the brake system, which according to the driver had locked up.
An ODOT representative on-scene said the truck tanker that was burning held about 3,400 gallons of fuel that will need to be siphoned into another tanker.
The heat of the fire melted the tires on one side of the truck into the pavement at the weigh station, which will need to be shoveled off. The weigh station itself apparently had no other damage.
The ODOT official said the fire apparently began while the truck was on the highway, prompting the driver to pull off at the weigh station.
The truck was marked as being with KAG West, the West Sacramento, California-based affiliate of Kenan Advantage Group, a transportation firm based in North Canton, Ohio. A call to KAG West was referred to the Ohio corporate headquarters. where calls were not immediately returned.