An element of risk

Eric McCarthy
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O’LEARY CORNER -- A load shift, resulting from the rear wheels riding up onto a slightly raised section of the O’Leary Corner roundabout, is likely what caused a transport truck loaded with a fertilizer compound to tip over Thursday, an investigating officer with West Prince RCMP has suggested

Cst. Dave Brown said Friday speed is not believed to have been a factor in the roll-over. He said the investigation into the incident, which closed down the roundabout and led to the evacuation of a nearby Tim Hortons, is continuing.

“All-in-all, no one was inured and things turned out better,” Brown said.

Much better, he acknowledged, than what could have happened if the truck’s cargo of ammonium nitrate, destined for McCain’s Fertilizer in Bloomfield had mixed with the truck’s diesel fuel and an ignition source was introduced to the mix. Such a combination could cause a massive explosion.

“Yesterday was a great example of agencies working together and solving a problem as quickly as possible and as safely as possible,” Brown acknowledged.

“Mind you, the worst case scenario didn’t occur, thankfully, but it definitely gives agencies like Hazmat, the Fire Marshal’s office, the fire departments and the RCMP and the EMS (the opportunity) to go back and look at it and say, ‘What could we have done better?’ That’s what we’ll do.”

The O’Leary Corner roundabout was designed wider than most so as to accommodate trucks carrying large loads such as wind turbine components. Inside of the main traffic area is a slightly raised section where rear wheels of long loads would travel. Brown said he believes it is when the truck wheels struck that raised section that the load shifted and caused the truck and its attached trailer to tip onto their side.

Brown said the power was temporarily shut off to O’Leary and surrounding areas before being isolated to an outage right at the intersection. “We wanted to make sure there was no source of spark, fire, anything, to ignite this,” Brown said of the precaution.

Reflecting on the response of emergency personnel from various agencies, Brown commented, “There is always going to be an element of risk to the job. This is another example of it.”

Organizations: Tim Hortons, RCMP, EMS

Geographic location: Leary

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