Tanker truck fumes explode at Anchorage port

Posted: Sunday, December 09, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Quick action by two workers kept a fire from spreading after fumes from a tanker truck exploded near the Port of Anchorage.

Little damage resulted in the incident Friday and only a small amount of fuel spilled, according to Tom Kempton, spokesman for the Anchorage Fire Department.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation Friday. But fire officials suspected static electricity in the cold, dry air triggered a spark that in turn ignited fumes, Kempton said.

The fireball erupted shortly before 1 p.m. from the top of a double tanker truck where it was loading diesel heating fuel at the Williams Alaska Petroleum facility, said company spokesman Jeff Cook.

The driver by the rig and a Williams attendant in a break room immediately hit the fire suppression switch, causing foam to gush over the top

Williams safety procedures call for grounding equipment and taking other measures to make sure no sparks occur during fueling, Cook said. The company is working with the fire department to figure out what happened.

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