Thursday nights’s heavy rain made driving a challenge and complicated operations for the West Grove Fire Company in London Grove Township.
A tractor trailer and a car towing a trailer collided at the intersection of Route 41 and the Route 1 Bypass on Thursday, June 3. WGFC was dispatched just past 10pm. The Chester County 911 Center reported a car versus a tractor trailer with patients injured, dispatching WGFC and paramedics from Medic 94. At the time, a rain storm in the area was delivering more than one inch of rain an hour.
West Grove responded with Engines 1, 2 and 3, Rescue 22 and both ambulances, along with fire police. The ambulance arrived and reported two vehicles crashed blocking the roadway. The crash happened at the entrance of US Route 1 south at Route 41. A tractor trailer turning left from Route 41 northbound onto the entrance ramp of US 1 southbound was struck on the side by a car pulling a trailer. The resulting crash caused the car to be detached from its trailer blocking lanes on Route 41. The tractor trailer parked on the ramp to Route 1, with the crash causing heavy damage to the 100 gallon diesel fuel saddle tank on the tractor.
Chief 22 established Route 1 command and reported a significant fuel leak from the truck. With the EMS crews evaluating patients, fire police shut down Route 41 at the crash site, while fire crews began efforts to stop the spread of leaking fuel. This was complicated by the heavy downpour, and the downhill slope of the ramp. Crews quickly created a temporary dam using absorbent materials and oil dry with the dam set up to direct the leaking fuel off the road way onto the nearby road bank. Using absorbent socks (also called PIGs), the crew created an area where the fuel would be captured, with rain water leaking out from the bottom. Pooling the fuel over dirt is advantageous because the top soil can then be removed for environmental cleanup. Nearly 250 pounds of oil dry was put down to assist in the dam evolution.
The ambulances transported two patients while this operation was underway. With tow trucks clearing up the car and trailer on 41 so traffic could return to using Route 41, the operation on the ramp took much longer. The damaged tractor was separated from its trailer to be towed away, with its badly damaged saddle tank removed for transport. The truck's owner sent a new tractor to hook up to the trailer and haul it away.
West Grove crews were on the scene for two hours.