Dynamite Truck Collides With Fuel Oil Tanker

A straight truck carrying dynamite and an empty fuel oil tanker truck collided early one July morning in a rural area southeast of Richland Center, WI. The driver of the explosives truck died at the scene; the two other men with him were transported to...


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A straight truck carrying dynamite and an empty fuel oil tanker truck collided early one July morning in a rural area southeast of Richland Center, WI. The driver of the explosives truck died at the scene; the two other men with him were transported to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the fuel oil tanker was taken to the hospital with chest and leg injuries. He was later transported by helicopter to University Hospital in Madison as a critical care patient. He survived his injuries and eventually returned to work.

Although the dynamite truck carried a large amount of explosives that were thrown about the scene, along with diesel fuel, there was no fire or explosion. Sheriff's deputies arrived shortly after the accident occurred at 7:25 A.M. They quickly set up site control by stopping and detouring traffic for four hours. Nearby homes and businesses were evacuated as a precaution. Communication of the accident and the actions taken were quickly relayed to other responders. Local specialists were called to the scene as resources for securing the dynamite. Meanwhile, three ambulances and the local fire department responded to the scene.

"The components for an explosion were all there but it just didn't happen," Richland County Sheriff Fred Schram said. "Why it didn't happen? I don't know. The only thing missing was a spark. Maybe the good Lord was on our side. It (the explosion) would have left a big hole in terra firma."

The contents of the dynamite truck included ammonium nitrate, stick dynamite and detonator caps. Schram said it is illegal to carry dynamite and detonator caps in the same truck because the potential for an explosion is much greater when both items are present.

To assist with the dynamite handling, an expert from a construction company was called to the scene. This expert supervised the cleanup of the explosives and the removal of the dynamite to the construction company's bunker in a local quarry.

The collision apparently occurred when the explosives truck crossed the center line and struck the fuel oil tanker. Both trucks were demolished in the accident and the cab of the fuel tanker tractor was severed from the chassis. None of the four people involved were wearing seat belts.

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Photo by David F. Peterson
1 - A close-up view of the explosives truck after the collision. The driver of this truck was trapped and died at the scene.


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Photo by David F. Peterson
2 - A view of the explosives truck from the passenger side. Heavy damage occurred as a result of the collision.

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Photo by David F. Peterson
3 - This view shows the explosives truck's extensive damage to the cab and the cargo area. Sticks of dynamite are scattered on the highway along with detonating caps and ammonium nitrate. Note that fluids on the left side of the truck are draining into the ditch.


3_97_dynamite4.jpg
Photo by David F. Peterson
4 - A close-up of the explosives truck from the driver's side that shows the sticks of dynamite on the highway. An "Explosive" placard can also be viewed on the side of the cargo area.

3_97_dynamite5.jpg
Photo by David F. Peterson
5 - Farther down the highway the rear of the explosives truck can be viewed along with much debris from the collision with the fuel oil tanker. This view also shows the "Dangerous" placard on the rear of the truck. This contradiction of placarding from photo 4 is illegal and the company was fined for this violation.


3_97_dynamite6.jpg
Photo by David F. Peterson
6 - A view of the fuel oil tanker from the rear and the debris from the collision. The cab of the tractor, which was severed from the chassis, can be seen lying in the ditch to the right of the vehicle. The driver who was in the cab survived this incident. The red "Flammable Liquid" placard was displayed on the back of the tanker even though it was empty at the time of the accident.

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Photo by David F. Peterson
7 - This is a view of the entire collision scene with the fuel oil tanker on the left and the explosives truck on the right. Slight damage to the fuel tanker can be seen in this picture. The collision occurred on U.S. Highway 14 in Richland County, WI.


3_97_dynamite8.jpg
Photo by David F. Peterson
8 - With cleanup efforts underway, the dynamite was repackaged and placed in a transport vehicle for transportation to a storage bunker. In this photo the placard contradiction can be viewed. Also, note the ignition sources and the fuel load present and the exposures of up to seven people.

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