Hartselle Residents Evacuated When Propane Truck Hits Ditch

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HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Several homes in Hartselle had to be evacuated for more than three hours Monday morning. A tractor trailer truck hauling approximately nine thousand gallons of propane tilted over into a ditch after authorities say the driver tried to make to make a sharp turn. Three area fire departments rushed to the scene just in case of a fire, or worse.

About the only thing that kept the tanker from rolling completely over and onto it's side was the tractor truck that had been pulling it. Authorities say the driver simply attempted a turn that was much too sharp for the rig and the back wheels of the trailer slipped into a deep ditch.

"The first thing, the question I asked when I got the call is was it leaking and they assured me it wasn't. But we've taken every precaution that we can," Hartselle Mayor Don Hall told WHNT News 19.

Hartselle firefighters, with back-up from Falkville, Decatur's Haz-Mat team and the Morgan County Emergency Management Agency all rushed to the scene and stood-by as wrecker drivers carefully pulled the loaded trailer back onto the roadway.

"And the way it was situated in the ditch there, there was come concerns whether or not there was some leakage or any broken lines," said Hartselle Fire Chief Steve Shelton.

There was a brief release of propane once the trailer was righted, but a valve was quickly closed and the danger averted. Just over three hours after the incident began, the damaged trailer was pulled away to be off-loaded at the terminal just a few blocks away.

Chief Shelton says with the various hazardous cargos that travel by highway and rail through the area, they have to be ready for any type of emergency.