Tanker truck crashes on Bartow Hill

Bartow, W.Va. – At about 10:30 Wednesday morning, a gasoline tanker truck left the roadway going down Bartow Hill toward the Route 250 intersection and flipped onto its right side in a field. The driver was uninjured in the crash, but gasoline leaked from vents in the full tanker at approximately 15 gallons per hour.

The Bartow-Frank-Durbin VFD, Pocahontas County Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Management Services Director Shawn Dunbrack responded to the scene.

B-F-D fire chief Buster Varner describes how firefighters contained the spill.

“We put down our booms and our absorbent pad and everything,” he said. “I went to my shop and got some and put those down and I went to Interstate and got a dump truck load of sawdust. We used some of that sawdust for a dam there. But, we had five gallon buckets there and was catching most of it as it was coming out. The tank didn’t rupture – it was just the vents.”

Varner, who owns a construction company, dispatched an excavator to the crash site.

“When we first got the call, I had one of my mechanics get that hooked up and bring it up there, in case we had a large spill,” he said. “I was going to take it and dig a pond there and try to catch everything we could, instead of letting it get into the water source.”

Firefighters were able to contain the spill, without using the excavator, and a small creek near the crash site was not contaminated.

The tanker truck was operated by Petroleum Transport Company (PTC), the same firm that operated a tanker that crashed near Minnehaha Springs in February 2009.
Varner says PTC dispatched an empty tanker and an environmental company to the crash site to empty the crashed tanker.

“They pumped what they could off of one truck to another truck,” he said. “And what they couldn’t get, the environmental company tapped into the truck with just a regular four-inch hole saw, in that aluminum – popped a hole in that and sucked the rest of the gas out.”

The tanker truck was emptied and towed away about 8:15 p.m. and Route 92/28, which was closed for nearly 10 hours, was reopened.

The truck driver told Varner he had a coughing fit before the crash.
“What the driver said was he got to coughing uncontrollable there and couldn’t stop,” Varner said. “The next thing he knew he was upset there in the ditch.”
Varner was pleased with the response by emergency personnel and the trucking company.

“I think everybody involved there done a good job today,” he said. “I mean, the trucking company was pretty responsible about getting back and helping us and working with us. Shawn Dunbrack with Emergency Services come up there and helped us out, what he could, with that. Everybody seemed to do a good job. Marlinton come up and brought us some extra booms and absorbent pads. I was pleased with everybody.”

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

Current Weather