Trucker Dies Trying To Extinguish Truck Fire - Explosion.... 15' Crater Closes AR Hwy. 278

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Marc Lee's Comment
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Fatal truck explosion leaves 15 foot crater in highway

The explosion was felt 60 miles away.

By Ashley -March 27, 2019 CDL Life

UPDATE (12:30 p.m. March 27) Arkansas State Police have released new details about the fatal truck explosion in southern Arkansas.

The truck driver who lost his life has been identified as 63 year old El Dorado resident Randall McDougal. Troopers say that McDougal drove for Blann Trucking Company.

Troopers say that the truck’s brakes caught fire and that McDougal had exited the truck to try to put the fire out.

ORIGINAL REPORT———————————————————— Arkansas transportation officials have shut down a highway indefinitely after a truck hauling ammonium nitrate exploded this morning.

The explosion happened around 7:05 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27, on Highway 278 about a mile west of Camden, Arkansas, according to a report from KSLA.

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Arkansas DOT @myARDOT Ouachita Co: (UPDATE) Hwy. 278 blocked due to a accident involving truck carrying Ammonium Nitrate. It has exploded and a 1/2 mile area is cordoned off. Accident is west of Camden or 1.3 miles east of Hwy. 57. Monitor at http://IDriveArkansas.com . #artraffic #swatraffic #arnews

According to local reports caught fire on Highway 278. Officials had already started evacuating homes in a one mile radius when the truck exploded.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management has confirmed that one person died in the explosion. Local news station THV11 says that the person who died was the truck driver.

Other minor injuries have been reported.

Two police cruisers were destroyed in the explosion.

Union County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Sgt. Erick Meadows says that the explosion left a large crater in the middle of Highway 278. The Arkansas Department of Transportation says that the crater is approximately 15 feet deep.

Highway 278 is closed in both directions until further notice. Highway 57 and Highway 24 were also closed.

Copyright © 2019 CDLLife

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Doug C.'s Comment
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I used to be an underground miner, and used a lot of ammonium nitrate. It is also called Prell. It is very dangerous stuff to say the least. Too bad about the poor driver.

Marc Lee's Comment
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I used to be an underground miner, and used a lot of ammonium nitrate. It is also called Prell. It is very dangerous stuff to say the least. Too bad about the poor driver.

Yep. I re-wrote the (much more sensational) headline to focus on the poor driver.

Prell? I used to wash my hair with that!

Once chased down a trucker who had a trailer hub glowing bright orange. Got him to pull over before something bad happened. Now I see just how bad something like that can be.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Well, you try to learn something from every incident. The first two thoughts that come to mind are:

1) Watch your mirrors. It's possible he may have been able to see the smoke coming off the brakes long before they caught fire.

2) Have a CB radio and keep it on. Chances are a dozen different people tried telling him on the CB that his brakes were smoking but he either didn't have one or didn't have it on.

I hate hearing that so few people have CB's anymore. In 15 years of driving I lost count of how many times that thing saved the day for me or for other drivers in the area when nothing else could have done the job. It's a priceless tool that I believe every single driver should have. If you don't have one it's going to bite you someday. Get on Youtube and watch the crashes that involve dozens of trucks plowing into a pileup of vehicles on a foggy day or in a snowstorm. So many people die in those wrecks, and it all could've been avoided if everyone had their CB on.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

I hate hearing that so few people have CB's anymore. In 15 years of driving I lost count of how many times that thing saved the day for me or for other drivers in the area when nothing else could have done the job. It's a priceless tool that I believe every single driver should have. If you don't have one it's going to bite you someday. Get on Youtube and watch the crashes that involve dozens of trucks plowing into a pileup of vehicles on a foggy day or in a snowstorm. So many people die in those wrecks, and it all could've been avoided if everyone had their CB on.

Point taken. The recent thread on CBs convinced me to invest in one.

Obviously, when the driver finally noticed the fire he should have gotten out of there. Perhaps he was with a small company and hadn't been trained properly. Anybody who's familiar with the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing knows how dangerous ammonium nitrate is.

I'd be very interested in hearing from the experienced drivers on how this situation should have been handled and also how to deal with brake and tire fires. We got some training in school on this, but not enough.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

I hate hearing that so few people have CB's anymore. In 15 years of driving I lost count of how many times that thing saved the day for me or for other drivers in the area when nothing else could have done the job. It's a priceless tool that I believe every single driver should have. If you don't have one it's going to bite you someday. Get on Youtube and watch the crashes that involve dozens of trucks plowing into a pileup of vehicles on a foggy day or in a snowstorm. So many people die in those wrecks, and it all could've been avoided if everyone had their CB on.

double-quotes-end.png

Point taken. The recent thread on CBs convinced me to invest in one.

Obviously, when the driver finally noticed the fire he should have gotten out of there. Perhaps he was with a small company and hadn't been trained properly. Anybody who's familiar with the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing knows how dangerous ammonium nitrate is.

I'd be very interested in hearing from the experienced drivers on how this situation should have been handled and also how to deal with brake and tire fires. We got some training in school on this, but not enough.

(Newbie / wannabe) response...

So in my brief 3 weeks of training I got a cool lesson one day on trailer brake inspection. I'd been following my trainer around as he walked around and briefly looked under the trailer (sometimes aiming a flashlight). Was trying to remember to check inspection sticker, get seal last 4, etc.. Cleaned lenses, looked for broken/hanging lights, etc.. All seemed kind of superficial...

Then another driver came by to discuss his trailer. He took me over to see what a blown hub seal looked like! Had to crawl under with a light to see what these experienced drivers could see from a distance... black residue where a normal wheel would have been grey. Turns out they were probably looking more for what they DIDN'T see than what they did see most of the time. But it was an extremely valuable lesson. If you don't know what normal looks like you can't know what abnormal looks like. But in this case... actually seeing what abnormal looked like really helped drive home the point. I will never do or look at inspections the same way again!

FYI... Driver was going to swap loads so the trailer could be repaired or off-loaded. No way was he leaving the yard with it.

Also... I believe he also had been a trainer. Not sure how much that helped but again... valuable lesson!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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