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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tractor-Trailer Rollover Backs Up I-95 Traffic

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UPDATE A tractor-trailer carrying 2,500 pounds of live fish rolled over on I-95 near Westport’s Exit 17 in the southbound lanes during tonight’s rush hour, filling the roadway with flapping fish and snarling traffic for miles in both directions.WestportNow.com Image
Westport firefighters inspect the overturned truck and its cargo. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The driver of the truck was uninjured, said Assistant Fire Chief William Dingee, but the almost four-hour clean up was made more difficult by spilled diesel fuel and discovery of a leaking 300-pound oxygen tank in the wreckage.

The accident occurred at 6:17 p.m. and in addition to firefighters and state police, representatives from the Departments of Transportation, Environmental Protection, and Consumer Protection also responded, he said.

Arriving firefighters found not only the fish but approximately 10 gallons of diesel fuel from the fuel tank across all three lanes of the highway, Dingee said. Further inspection found a leaking 300-pound. liquid oxygen tank on its side.

WestportNow.com Image
Discovery of a leaking 300-pound liquid oxygen tank in the wreckage made clean up more complex.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Firefighters worked to control the diesel fuel leak and uprighted the liquid oxygen tank to reduce the volume of the leak, the fire official said.

Representatives of the Department of Consumer Protection condemned the entire load of fish and had them transported by flatbed for holding until they could be properly destroyed under the department’s direction, Dingee said.

He said the liquid oxygen tank was required to be discharged to a safe area under direction of DEP.

To increase safety and move the process along, the tank was submerged in a 3,000 gallon tank of water that was supplied by the Weston Fire Department on mutual aid request, Dingee said.

Only one lane of traffic was able to pass the scene during the entire operation which took until 10 p.m. to clean up, he said.WestportNow.com Image
The accident closed two southbound lanes. DOT photo

The Department of Transportation said traffic was backed up to Fairfield and beyond.

As crews worked to clear the truck and fish, a second accident occurred in the southbound lanes between Exits 17 and 18. Fire units described it as a “rear-ender” with no serious injuries.

Posted 09/21/10 at 12:09 AM


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