Today in fire history: tractor-trailer crash leads to BLEVE

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Oct 16, 2012

On October 16, 1986, a tractor trailer veered off a road and struck the piping for two stationary LP-gas storage tanks about ½ mile outside of Woodruff, Utah.  One tank had a capacity of 18,000 gallons and the other of 30,000 gallons.  Immediately following the crash, fire involving fuel from the truck and LP-gas from the tanks erupted.

The Woodruff Fire Department responded and prepared to attack the fire, but a loud noise erupted and firefighters withdrew to a position about 800 feet from the area.  About ½ hour later, the 18,000-gallon tank BLEVE’d.  One piece of the tank struck a building and eventually came to rest about 2,600 feet from its mountings.  Following the BLEVE, firefighters stayed back, evacuated the town, and allowed the tank to continue to burn until the intensity of the burning decreased, and the fire eventually burnt itself out.

NFPA members can read the full investigation report for free.