Natural gas tanker explodes on Rt. 7 in Ferrisburgh

Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 4:25 AM EDT
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FERRISBURGH, Vt. (WCAX) - A tractor-trailer driver is lucky to be alive after another driver alerted them to sparks that led to an explosion.

Vermont State Police say the natural gas tanker caught fire around 11:15 p.m. Thursday night on Route 7 in the area near Dakin Road in Ferrisburgh. Troopers say the good Samaritan was able to get in front of the tanker to stop it and then alert the driver before the rig went up in flames.

People that live nearby say they’ve never seen anything like it and are just happy no one was hurt. “I was awake and I heard what sounded like a big popping noise. And it was loud enough that I was kind of concerned. I thought there was an accident,” said Steven True, who works for the town and lives nearby. “The truck, which I could see, its tires had just exploded and its brakes were on fire. My first thought was I hope that doesn’t explode.”

Gas tanker catches fire in Ferrisburgh, Rt. 7 closed
Gas tanker catches fire in Ferrisburgh, Rt. 7 closed(wcax)

But just minutes later, it did. “It was like daylight all of a sudden. Flames 70 to 80 feet in the air. Certainly, something I’d never seen before and hope to never see again, because even from 100 feet away I could feel the heat,” True said.

Ferrisburgh Fire Chief Bill Wager said the truck is a total loss. “The asphalt was actually damaged from the fire,” he said.

Road crews were out Friday making temporary repairs to keep the road open but will need to come back. “Approximately 80 feet of the roadway, including the northbound and southbound travel lanes sustained damage to the existing pavement to a depth of three-quarters of an inch,” said VTrans’ Daniel Shepard.

Power was also cut off in the area while crews worked to contain the fire. All utility lines are expected to be repaired by the end of the day.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.