SEATTLE - A tanker carrying 11,000 gallons of fuel exploded Saturday afternoon in Lynnwood, Wash., causing chaos and massive traffic backups but no real injuries.
It happened on I-5 northbound around 12:45 p.m. near 212th St SW and 44th Ave., about 16 miles north of Seattle.
The mother of the tanker driver, Sue Bramer, said her son, Gary, called her and said he managed to escape the explosion with only a scratch. He was taken to nearby Providence Hospital, but later checked himself out.
One witness said a man suffered some burns to his arm, but there were no other reports of injuries.
I-5 was closed in both directions for several hours. Southbound lanes reopened around 3:30 p.m. and northbound lanes were expected to reopen around 9 p.m., depending on whether there was any structural damage. That part of the highway is a bridge that goes over 44th Ave.
A witness said she saw construction workers, who were building a ramp to a park-and-ride, fleeing the scene.
A woman, Marlena, whose husband was working at the construction site, said he was taking a lunch break when the tanker exploded after hitting a barrier. He said no one in his crew was hurt, but had they been at on the highway, they would have been near the explosion. He described the scene as total chaos.
Trees on both sides of the highway caught fire and were being doused by firefighters.
The smoke could be seen as far away as Bellevue, about 17 miles southeast of Lynnwood but one hour later had mostly dissipated.
A man named Russ said he was right behind the truck when it exploded.
"The tanker was about 200 yards or so ahead of me, I saw the truck starting to slowly head over the right hand median area and hit the metal guard rail. Then it totally exploded into flames," he said. "All of sudden, everyone slammed on their brakes. Everyone who stopped behind the truck were just watching, then there was another explosion and another, and everyone started backing up off the freeway and exiting off 44th. There was debris and shrapnel all over the road."
Seven incident response teams were called to help direct traffic. Bridge and road inspectors were also called to the scene. Crews were examining the road for structural damage to the road and an inspector said it was looking good.
Because the road is concrete, the fire caused less damage than if it were asphalt, said DOT spokesperson Jamie Holter.
There was initially concern of environmental damage, but Mark MacIntyre of the EPA said fuel burned off before it entered nearby Scriber creek, which flows into Lake Washington.
The tanker driver, Gary Bramer, 32, who lives in Tukwila, south of Seattle, was on his way home, said his mother. She said he had been working for the Harris Transportation company for four years.
So far it's not known exactly what caused the accident, said Mike Dailey, a safety manager with Harris Transportation.
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Thread: Lynwood, WA Tanker Explosion
07-14-2003, 02:20 AM #1
- Join Date
- Jan 2002
- Washington State
Lynnwood, WA Tanker Explosion
Last edited by Darcyf5g; 07-14-2003 at 02:30 AM.
07-14-2003, 02:26 AM #2
LYNNWOOD, Wash. (AP) - Washington State Patrol troopers hope to
interview the driver of a gasoline tanker truck that exploded on
Interstate 5 a day earlier.
Investigators still had not had a chance to interview Gary
Brammer, 32, of Tukwila, State Patrol Trooper Lance Ramsay said
Sunday night, adding that they would try contacting Brammer this
Ramsey said Brammer would likely be cited for the accident that
shutdown the northbound lanes of I-5 for about 18 hours after the
truck hit a guard rail, ran into a cement barrier and exploded.
Brammer made it out of the truck without any serious injuries.
He was treated for a minor foot injury Providence Everett Medical
Center and released Saturday night.
Construction crews that had been working near the site where the
truck crashed were on a lunch break when the explosion occurred.
"They're so lucky," state Department of Transportation
spokeswoman Jamie Holter said. "That's right where they were."
The fiery explosion halted traffic in both directions of the
busy highway for hours on Saturday.
The southbound lanes reopened about three hours after the crash,
which happened around 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
The northbound lanes remained closed until 7 a.m. Sunday.
The explosion happened not far from the Alderwood Mall, about 15
miles north of Seattle. The tanker was headed to Marysville,
carrying 11,300 gallons of unleaded gas.
The explosion sent thick, black smoke billowing into the air for
about an hour. Cars backed up for miles as crews fought the blaze
with water and fire-retardant foam.
"It was the most frightening thing I've ever seen in my life,"
a witness, Dave Crain of Lynnwood told The Herald newspaper.
Investigators had not released any information about what caused
Brammer to crash the truck. Ramsay said investigators had no reason
to believe the crash was alcohol or drug related.
Brammer was driving in the far-right lane when the tanker went
off the road on the right-hand side and scraped a length of metal
guardrail, which punctured the tanker, the State Patrol said.
The tanker began leaking gasoline, hit the concrete guard on the
44th Avenue overpass and came to a stop just south of the Alderwood
Mall Parkway exit, Ramsay said.
The driver scrambled out and ran from the truck just before the
first of several explosions were ignited by 10,000 gallons of
unleaded gasoline in the first tank and 1,300 gallons of super
unleaded gasoline in the second, troopers said.
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