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Quick acting firefighters help avoid propane catastrophe

Catastrophe was avoided Monday morning thanks to quick acting firefighters well trained for this kind of emergency.

A delivery truck carrying propane burst into flames at Greer’s Propane, on Cleminson Road in Wellington just before 11 a.m. More than 30 firefighters from Wellington, Hillier and Hallowell rushed to the scene within six minutes and water was applied to the burning truck within 11 minutes .

The tractor was destroyed but the damage was contained there as firefighters were able to keep the propane tanks cooled. OPP officers were on scene to direct traffic. People were asked to avoid the area and neighbouring businesses were evacuated for about an hour. They were able to return to the area just after noon.

Approximately 200 litres of diesel fuel spilled as a result of the fire. The fuel spill was contained and the site is now under the control of the Ministry of the Environment. The remnants of the truck and the tanks are expected to be removed later today.

“The tractor was destroyed, however, quick action by the fire department resulted in very little damage to the seaboard Harmac trailer,” said Bob Greer. “There was no release of propane from either Greer’s or the load and no propane was on fire – only the tractor.”

He expects the site to be cleaned up and back in full operation within 36 hours. In the meantime operations  have established at another facility so that service to customers will not be interrupted.

“The positive outcome from this near-disaster is attributed to pre-planning and training,” said Fire Chief Scott Manlow. “The fire crews went in knowing exactly what had to be done to contain the blaze. Everything went as planned and there were no injuries – you can’t ask for more than that.”

Manlow said staff at Greer Propane acted quickly, activating their Risk and Safety Management Plan. Following pre-planned procedures, surrounding businesses were immediately notified and evacuated.

Due to the high risk nature of the fire, the County’s Emergency Control Plan was activated and the Emergency Operations Centre was opened. Coincidentally, the annual emergency drill which was conducted in October 2013 was of a similar nature to yesterday’s incident.

Greer said his company and team take public safety seriously noting they have put in place an array of safety and emergency measures including a detailed emergency response plan. They have worked with local fire officials and firefighters on training specific to the needs of this facility.

“Our site is inspected regularly,” he said. “Our facility meets or exceeds Canadian Standards Association (CSA) guidelines and meets stringent TSSA rules. We run a very safe and reliable facility. All equipment and tanks performed as they were designed and tested for.”

Greer offered his personal thanks and appreciation to the County’s firefighters and emergency response personnel.

“I would like to offer a special thank you to everyone who responded from the fire service, police service and the municipality, and particularly the volunteers.”

Customers are invited to contact the Greer’s Propane at 613-399.1089 during office hours or 613-847-1713 after hours.

County Mayor Peter Mertens also expressed his thanks.

“On behalf of the residents of Prince Edward County, I would like to thank the fire department for acting quickly and averting what could have been a disastrous situation,” he said.


Filed Under: Local News

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  1. mike says:

    Lee Knight has been retierd for some time now Dan Bakker is now the division camander now for the last two years.

  2. Sharon Harrison says:

    A huge thank you and admiration to all the firefighters and emergency personnel involved here. It is incredible to think that the village of Wellington, as small as it is, has such excellent emergency procedures in place. And they work. This could have been so very much more serious and dangerous situation. I can’t begin to imagine what a large explosion would have done for nearby residents. Swift action and an initial fast response time no doubt helped enormously. We are very fortunate to have such resources in place where we live. We should be grateful for that. Thank you to all!

  3. Wolf Braun says:

    Lee Knight and his crew from Wellington plus the remainder of the PEC Fire Dept are amazing professionals. They did a terrific job yesterday…. thank you from all of us who live in Wellington and area.

  4. Bill says:

    A thanks to our fire fighters for quick action and getting it under control, it could have ended up like this
    and that would have been a diaster.
    Thanks again to our fire fighters of the county.

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