Canadian Underwriter

Truck fire in Nova Scotia turns propane cylinders into projectiles

June 25, 2020   by THE CANADIAN PRESS

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DEBERT, N.S. – A cleanup is underway in Debert, N.S., after a transport truck carrying over 1,000 propane cylinders caught fire.

Nobody was injured in Sunday’s blaze on the Plains Road, which turned a large number of the nine-kilogram cylinders into projectiles.

Debert Fire Brigade Chief Shane Slack says more than 40 firefighters battled flames he says reached “treetop height.”

He says with the cylinders firing off, he initially kept his crew about 500 metres back from the burning truck, but firefighters were eventually able to set up a line and douse the fire from a distance.

Slack says the fire started in the truck’s trailer brakes then spread to the propane tanks, of which the truck was carrying more than 1,000.

The fire chief says he was the first to make it to the scene around 10:30 p.m.

“There were 50- to 70-foot flames from the truck – cylinders launching to the south and north into the woodline on either side of the truck,” he said.

Slack said he’s never encountered anything similar in his time as a firefighter.

“That’s actually a first for anything other than on the internet for me,” he laughed.

He said his crew was assisted in putting out the fire by the Onslow Belmont Fire Brigade.

The fire was so intense, Slack said it damaged the road surface and burned away fibre optic cabling in the area, affecting internet and land-line phone service.

Slack said repairs were still underway Monday and it was expected the scene would be cleared by the end of day.

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