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Hazard on the highway

Codroy Valley and Port aux Basques crews respond to tractor trailer roll over

Motorists detour around a single vehicle tractor trailer roll over near Tompkins last weekend. The accident necessitated emergency response from the Codroy Valley Volunteer Fire Department and a hazmat team from the Channel-Port aux Basques Volunteer Fire Department. – Courtesy of Jerry Musseau

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter – with files from René J. Roy

TOMPKINS — On Sunday night, Nov. 6, at approximately 10:06 p.m., the Codroy Valley Volunteer Fire Department (CVVFD) responded to an accident located between the old Starlight Lounge and Doucette’s Lane on the Trans Canada Highway where a tanker truck was reported to have toppled and was subsequently blocking one side of the road.

The tanker truck was leaking a significant amount of fuel, so the decision was made to have the hazmat team respond as well. The accident involved a single vehicle and there were no injuries reported as a result.

Brian Osmond, Fire Chief with CVVFD, said the department responded to the accident, but hazmat incidents are taken care of by the Channel-Port aux Basques Volunteer Fire Department (PABFD).

“Port aux Basques Fire Department is the hazmat team for the Southwest Coast,” said Osmond. “The only fire department from Rose Blanche to Codroy Valley trained on hazmat is Port aux Basques.”

Approximately 14 firefighters from the Codroy Valley detachment responded as well.

“When we arrived on scene, there was a tractor trailer over on its side with the tractor part of the vehicle blocking the East bound lane leaving Port aux Basques heading towards Corner Brook, and the remainder of the truck was off in the ditch,” explained Osmond.

Jerry Musseau, PABFD Fire Chief said that the CVVFD were on scene first and subsequently determined that there was a need for a hazmat response team.

“We had five firefighters and they towed our hazmat trailer to the scene,” said Musseau. “There was a huge amount of fuel spilling across the highway. When we got on scene, we did see the tractor trailer overturned on the highway with one lane blocked. Part of the load from the trailer was down in the ditch, the large excavator part of it, and the Codroy Valley Fire Department had so much absorbent put down to try to dam block the leaking fuel. We added more absorbent to the area and the roadway, because it was a pretty significant spill of diesel fuel.”

Crews from both fire departments worked quickly to deal with the cleanup while keeping traffic flowing safely through the area.

“We were on that scene for approximately an hour,” confirmed Musseau. “We didn’t have a lot to do there aside from putting absorbent on the highway and trying to contain it because Codroy Valley had some of it already dammed off, so we were there an hour maximum, probably a little less than that.”

Musseau said that the hazmat team isn’t called out frequently or regularly to respond to accidents.

“It doesn’t happen all the time, thank God. This is the second hazmat incident this year because earlier this summer we did have the propane leak, one of those big 500-pound tanks leaking from one of our take-outs in Town, Rosie’s Burger. That was the other hazmat incident we had this year, and normally we don’t get too many hazmat calls.”

The cause of the roll over has yet to be determined. The RCMP issued the following statement in response to email inquiries:

“The single-vehicle collision involving a transport truck occurred on the TCH west of Doyles yesterday (Nov. 6) morning. The lone occupant received no injuries. The investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing.”

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