Skip to comments.I-81 Closed at 22/322 for Massive Tanker Fire
Posted on 05/09/2013 7:58:17 AM PDT by Old Sarge
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - Interstate 81 is closed in both directions at the 22/322 overpass near Harrisburg, and many other roadways around the city are congested due to a massive fire involving a diesel tanker.
Route 22/322 eastbound is also closed at the interchange.
Westbound 22/322 was closed until about 10:30 a.m., when PennDOT reopened the highway over I-81 at the Exit 67 interchange.
Access is now also available to northbound I-81 from westbound Route 22 at the interchange.
State police Trooper Robert Hicks said the crash occurred at 6:10 a.m. when the tanker, fully loaded with diesel, overturned on the I-81 northbound ramp to 322 West near mile marker 67.
The truck then caught fire and multiple explosions occurred.
The driver, a 52-year-old man from Dover, was able to escape the truck with minor burns. He was taken to Harrisburg Hospital, Hicks said. His name was not immediately released.
The truck was coming from Carlisle, and no other vehicles or people were involved. The crash is still under investigation.
The tanker was on fire for about 45 minutes on the 22/322 overpass.
PennDOT officials said both roads will remain closed until further notice because they are worried about the structural integrity of the overpass.
PennDOT spokeswoman Fritzi Schreffler said it appears the decking and beams of the overpass are in bad shape, and it is simply too dangerous to let cars travel underneath on I-81.
I-81 north is closed at Route 581 in Cumberland County. I-81 south is closed at the 81/83 split.
Significant traffic delays have been reported on I-81, Route 22/322, Progress Avenue, Cameron Street, Linglestown Road, Route 581, Route 11/15, and the Carlisle Pike.
Um, am I supposed to go out and beat up a Democrat over this? What’s the 5-day weather report?
You can beat up a ‘Rat on any day ending in “Y”.
I love ignorant-writing reporters.
“The tanker was on fire for about 45 minutes on the 22/322 overpass.”
No. It wasn’t. The FUEL for this fire was the diesel fuel, not the metal carcass of the tanker.
Safest way perhaps to ‘fight’ that fire was to let the fuel consume itself where it was. If ya put the fire out, the leaking fuel might run downhill and spread a fire due to re-ignition or other sources of ignition.
Diesel in the open air is NOT very explosive. Burns great, and hot, but not explosively unless aspirated or a BLEVE.
Been a long time since I was involved, but I bet the fire captain made a choice to contain it and let it burn itself out.
That was my thought, too.
What I also take away from this is, how one incident can shut down a major traffic node.
Thanks!! We are scheduled to take 84 west to 81 south tomorrow to head to my daughter’s law school graduation at Washington & Lee in Virginia so now I know to look at alternative routes.
“Diesel in the open air is NOT very explosive.”
That’s what I thought. The media is probably WRONG about it being diesel, again !
What about Diesel heated up near 1,000 degrees? If it burned for 45 minutes at the tanker, there was some hot fuel prior to it burning out.
In the last issue of Forbes there was a graphic depicting transport corridors, roads, railways and waterways. The width of the line indicated the volume/tonnage.
Interstate 81 is the heaviest traveled corridor for freight in the country. I 81 carries more freight than any other roar,railroad or waterway in the country. The rails from the coal western fields to the Mississippi are near that if I 81
I looked for it but couldn’t find it on line
Imagine a 100,000 muslim jihadis with H-1B and L-1 visas working in power plants, fertilizer factories, refineries, chemical manufacturers, hospitals, utilities, dams, pharmaceutical formulators, web hub server farms, municipal water supplies, sewage treatment plants, driving HazMat trucks...
It blowed up real good!
Ack, my folks are driving thru that area today. They’re making the 1000 mile run from my place back home hauling a huge camper, and a couple days ago had a horrid time with heavy rains. Now a shutdown for tanker fire? I’d call ‘em now but they’re probably dealing with the traffic.
Or worse, won't.
Or worse, do.
No, pretty sure it was diesel, judging by the color of the smoke and the relatively SMALL flame at least. Gasoline fire looks like balls of flame, and a characteristic brownish black smoke from an open burning pool of gasoline / spill. Seen it many times on the race track.
When the diesel gets hot enough it’ll boil and make a pretty good flame front, but nothing compared to a gasoline spill.
Pretty sure this was diesel.
Google BLEVE - boiling liquid explosive vapor. that’s what caused the ‘explosions’ as the compartments of the tanker ruptured and let out boiling flammable liquids— which then burned vigorously.
If you see posts of interest to Pennsylvanians, please ping me.
At least it wasn’t the Mountain Dew Soft Drink spillage, on I-70:
Traffic is still nuts around here. My just called from the Carlisle Pike. She turned around instead of going on her errand.
There are signs on the highways near Allentown that I-81 was closed near Harrisburg.
That would be Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion.
I've helped design tank farms and loading facilities. I am familiar with the cause of such events.
A BLEVE occurs when a vessel containing a superheated liquid (e.g., propane) catastrophically fails, usually as a result of external fire exposure (i.e., a pool fire under the vessel or a jet- or torch-type fire impinging on the vessel walls). The fire pressurizes the vessel, causing the relief valve to open, which allows the pressurized vapor to escape. As the liquid level in the vessel decreases, the flames impinge on the vessel wall above the liquid level. The vessel wall rapidly heats up due to the poor heat transfer provided by the vapor on the inner side of the vessel wall. The wall weakens and then tears, resulting in a sudden catastrophic failure of the vessel. BLEVE events have also been known to occur as a result of vessel failure from mechanical impact, corrosion, overpressurization, or metallurgical failure.
The consequences of a BLEVE event are (1) the overpressure blast wave that is generated as a result of the rapid expansion of the superheated liquid, (2) the fireball thermal radiation generated as a result of the rapid combustion of the released flammable material, and (3) the potential vessel fragments that may be propelled as missiles. BLEVE events have the potential for causing injury and/or facility damage at significant distances from the source of the BLEVE.
You are correct of course about BLEVE.
That’s what I get for posting from my mobile, like now ;-)
Very few people understand class B fires and fires vs. explosions from vapors (not liquids). I know years ago firefighters school was an eye opener for me.
Much rather attack a pool of burning fuel than a partially ruptured multi-compartmented vessel like that tanker; especially since there wasn’t a water source any where near to cool the metal and the fuel.