Tanker overturns in Kennett, Missouri

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

Kennett, Missouri (KAIT) --On an average day--as many as 200-tractor trailer rigs pass through downtown Kennett.

Monday, one did **not** make it through!

A tanker truck loaded with liquid fertilizer rolled over on its side this morning--spilling part of it's load.

Considering how many trucks roll through the town of Kennett each day--carrying a variety of loads--

Monday's accident could have been much, much worse.

Kennett Assistant Police Chief Steve Williams was one of the first on the scene.

"I talked to the driver, he was going Westbound through the square when the trailer evidently locked up on him and he lost control and flipped it. And what we got from witnesses looks like the rear axle might have broken on the tanker trailer. "

The accident occurred around 9:15 Monday morning about half a block East of the intersection of 84 and Kennett street.

Fire fighters arrived quickly and assessed the spill scene.

John Mallot, the Fire Chief for Kennet got his crews moving quickly.

"The main concern when we got here was did we have a serious product that could initially harm people through inhalation. The top domes leaked at least a hundred gallons of product if not more. It was about three quarters full . "

The tanker was carrying about 4500 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Not truly toxic but irritating to open wounds and eyes and nose if exposed to the liquid. The fire department took all precautions including evacuation of the area and protective gear.

Mallot, "We used a totally self contained level B with self contained breathing apparatus and they put dome clamps on it (the trailer) and they put up a little absorbent as there was a storm drain there where it went down. "

Chief Mallott says they really don't like having semis coming through town but the highway department says it is a highway and they have the right to be there.  Today's accident was relatively minor but demonstrates what could happen with a highly toxic or dangerous load.

Both Mallot and Maj. Williams would like to see the trucks quit coming through the city center.

Mallot, "We've tried to get a bypass established but that's one thing we've been working with the state on trying to get established but at this point in time we haven't had any luck doing that. "

Already there are  bypasses that go around the city both on the North and south but many trucks still come through the narrow center of town.

Luckily no one was injured, no cars were parked on the side of the street, and there were no pedestrians on the sidewalk. A highway worker had just left the scene to go get his reflective vest just before the accident happened.

Fire Chief Mallott says this could have been a very serious problem had this truck been carrying fuel or a highly dangerous chemical.

Mallot says he intends to have the city talk again to the highway department about getting the trucks out of the center of town.

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