Source: The Sun Chronical BY JIM HAND SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
NORFOLK – Ten homes were temporarily evacuated Friday morning when a propone gas truck sprang a leak and a vapor cloud formed in the Tucker Road area.
Firefighters were able to disperse the cloud, plug the leak, then shut off the gas, authorities said. There were no injuries.
The incident began about 10 a.m., and residents were allowed return to their homes by 2 p.m.
“Today was a true emergency, which had potential for dire consequences. Norfolk is fortunate the fire department was adequately staffed to perform multiple tasks simultaneously under dangerous conditions,” Fire Chief Coleman Bushnell said Friday.
“Also, having a quick police presence allowed for an evacuation of the immediate area and to close off streets. Without the assistance of the mutual aid fire departments and their chiefs, along with our police and HAZMAT team, the outcome could have been much different.”
Bushnell also said there were no environmental concerns posed by the release of the leaking propane.
Police and fire crews were dispatched to Medway Branch at Tucker Road after receiving a call from the truck driver, John McQuown.
First responders found an Osterman Propane Co. delivery truck leaking liquid propane, which caused the white vapor cloud.
Norfolk fire initially summoned mutual aid from Franklin and Wrentham to the scene, along with the Department of Fire Services Hazardous Materials Response Team. Additionally, Millis sent an engine company to the scene to assist.
The vacant Norfolk Fire Station was covered by Foxboro, with an engine, and Medway, with a ladder truck.
Two mutual aid firefighters, trained as hazardous materials response technicians, supported by Norfolk firefighters training a water fog on the vapor cloud, crawled under the tank truck and placed a wet towel over the leak.
Their actions caused the propane to freeze and reduced the leaking gas, the chief said.
Osterman Propane personnel arrived and directed firefighters in determining which valves could be used to completely stop the leak. The leak was finally capped about 11:30 a.m.
The cause of the leak was attributed to mechanical failure of a valve beneath the truck.