GREENSBORO – An accident involving a propane tanker closed Highway 68 at Pleasant Ridge Road on Tuesday.
Just before 6:15 a.m., authorities say a car ran a red light at the intersection, striking the tanker. The truck flipped over, rolling several times down the northbound lane of the highway, landing on its side and blocking all lanes of traffic.
Assistant Greensboro Fire Chief Mike Rogers says the situation was extremely dangerous because any kind of spark could lead to a fire when dealing with substance like propane. But the tanker only sustained a minor leak that was quickly contained.
“The units that transport propane are extremely thick, durable tanks. They're designed to withstand impacts and rollovers and stuff and stay intact with no product leakage,” said Joe Wright, CFO of Hilco Transport, Inc.
The toughest task, officials at the scene said, was to turn the truck back upright and remove the 70 percent of remaining propane.
"Safety's always the No. 1 thing, regardless of how long it takes us to accomplish the offload and that's why we have crews standing by in the event that something was to happen," Rogers said.
As a precaution, area businesses were evacuated while the accident was cleaned up
"We have all the stations who are on this side of town, plus our HAZMAT team and our chemical unit from Station 18 already standing by in the case we were to encounter a fire during this offloading process," Rogers added.
Traffic was rerouted and both lanes of Highway 68 were shut down for hours.
Both drivers were taken to the hospital to be evaluated, but neither had life-threatening injuries.