Overturned Gasoline Tanker Burns, Damages Homes in Boyle Heights

Friday, October 31, 2014

More than 150 firefighters responded to a dramatic non-injury gasoline truck fire Friday afternoon, that ignited a house and damaged two others in northeast Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 3:30 PM on October 31, 2014 by multiple 9-1-1 callers reporting a wall of flame threatening homes near the 8th Street onramp to the southbound Golden State (I-5) Freeway in Boyle Heights, near the East L.A. interchange. With flames and smoke towering in the sky, the LAFD response was quickly augmented with special units, including a trio of foam tenders and a helicopter, as additional callers clarified that a gasoline tanker truck was involved.

LAFD crews arrived quickly to find a tandem tanker operated by "Golden Bear Marketing", with only the rear trailer overturned and ablaze. Assuring the truck driver to have escaped unharmed - and that no other persons were in direct peril, firefighters began a multifaceted attack on the inferno, fueled by the trailer's 4,500 gallon cargo of gasoline that created a river of flame in gutters that extended downhill and eastward from the incident.

Flames consumed a parked and unoccupied sport utility vehicle before firefighters arrived, with flames actively threatening three homes to the east, including a residential triplex at 2689 East 8th Street that suffered serious damage. Two other homes closer to the tanker fire were limited to superficial damage due the well-coordinated protective efforts of Los Angeles Firefighters. Overhead electrical wires were damaged by the intense flames, impacting utility service in the community.

A Herculean effort by 157 firefighters under the command of LAFD Assistant Chief Donald Frazeur, controlled most active flame within 20 minutes, and fully extinguished all vehicle, vegetation and structure fire in just 80 minutes. The front tank, its volatile cargo and tractor were unscathed by flames. No firefighter or civilian injuries were reported, though 7 adults and 3 children from the damaged triplex required temporary placement assistance from the American Red Cross.

The incident remains under active investigation by Los Angeles Police officials seeking a reason why the tanker overturned, and LAFD Investigators who are focusing on the fire that ensued. Regional, State and Federal environmental officials were notified, with several agencies responding to the scene. The freeway onramp and a short section of East 8th Street were to remain closed until Saturday morning at the earliest, as firefighters assisted with more than ten hours of clean-up and investigative efforts, including the safe transfer of as much as 2,000 gallons of unburned fuel from the overturned tank trailer.

Dispatched Units: E25 E17 E202 T2 BC1 RA25 RA17 T9 EM1 E9 E2 E210 T10 E14 E3 E203 T3 DC1 E211 T11 EM13 BC13 T27 E227 E27 UR27 RA27 RA827 UR88 BC5 BC2 BC11 BC18 H4 FT60 FT36 E60 E100 E36 FT100 HM17 AR1 E11 T21 SQ21 E21 E33 RA2 RA209 EM9 CM2 CM3 T95 E295 E95 SQ95 JT2 JT3 JT5 RA803 EL3 E33 E12 T87 E287 RA1 T87 E287 EA1

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