Friday Jan 20 2012
Dangerous truck fire contained in Loomis
By: Joyia Emard, Gold Country News Service
Flames miss 500-gallon propane tank
LOOMIS -- A potential disaster was averted this afternoon after a vehicle near a 500-gallon propane tank caught fire at a business on Swetzer Road, said Jeff Gordon, assistant chief for the Penryn Fire District. Gordon said two parked vehicles that were near or contained 200 gallons of diesel fuel and a 500-gallon propane tank burned, but the tanks did not explode. The trucks were pavement painting vehicles owned by Sierra Traffic Markings, Inc., located at 6141 Angelo Ct. “We had the potential for a large incident if the large tank would have exploded. It could have been a BLEVE – a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion,” he said. Gordon said smaller propane cylinders and vehicle tires did explode, but they exploded straight up and not sideways. He said Penryn Fire trucks kept water on the building next to the vehicles and kept it from burning. Gordon said at 1:33 p.m. a call came in on a vehicle or machinery fire, somewhere on Swetzer Road, and Loomis Fire Protection District was first on the scene, followed by Penryn. Gordon said at 1:37 p.m., based on the potential severity of the fire, he issued a call for a full commercial response, which brought trucks from Rocklin, South Placer and Auburn fire departments. He said the fire was contained at 2:04 p.m. Gordon said the Swetzer Road building adjacent to the fire was evacuated and Swetzer Road and Mareta Lane were temporarily closed. There were no injuries. Gordon credited the mutual aid agreements between the Placer County fire agencies for averting a more serious incident. “I want to applaud the mutual aid agreements. Without them Placer County would be less able to deal with incidents of this caliber,” he said. Alma Hoffman, whose business is in the building adjacent to the fire, said she saw the fire first and yelled for others to call for help. She said Loomis Fire responded within minutes. “They were fast,” Hoffman said. Hoffman photographed the incident with her cell phone camera and Marcos Morales, an employee, took video footage with his cell phone. She said the trucks “blew up twice.” “I was afraid my business was going to burn,” she said. Gordon said the cause of the fire is under investigation and it may be some time before the results are known.