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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Director


About 1,000 Kane residents spent about half their day in an emergency shelter at the high school today after a tanker truck carrying butane turned over at Greeves and Fraley streets early this morning.

At around 4:30 a.m. the tanker holding 8,000 gallons of the highly flammable and volatile liquid flipped onto its side while making a turn off of Route 6.

No one was hurt and no butane spilled from the tanker. Anti-freeze and diesel fuel did leak from the truck, but DEP says that was cleaned up quickly.

Mike Gilbert, a local truck driver, was on the scene shortly after the accident and spoke with the driver. Gilbert told The Morning Buzz that the driver told him another vehicle was stopped too far into the intersection so he had to make a wider turn than normal. His load shifted and the tanker ended up on its side on the sidewalk.

The tanker is owned by Elkhorn Corporation. Crossett Inc. sent another tanker to the scene so the butane could be transferred before the first tanker could be put upright again and moved.

Utilities were shut off during the butane transfer because of the danger of sparks causing the butane vapor to ignite.

Route 6 in and around Kane was closed to all traffic until just before 5 o'clock this afternoon. Routes 321 and 66 were closed to commerical truck traffic for most of the day, but also re-opened at just before 5 p.m. Passenger vehicles were allowed to travel on routes 321 and 66.

The McKean-Potter Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross set up the shelter at the high school and served nearly 200 lunches. School was cancelled for the day.

A funeral scheduled for 11 o'clock this morning at the Ronald McDonald II Funeral Home had to be postponed because the funeral home -- on South Fraley Street -- is in the evacuation zone. A post on the funeral home's website earlier today said the service will be rescheduled.

The Kane Area Community Center was used as a center for some of the emergency crews' operations, which afforded the center's Michelle Palmer to take exceptional photographs of the scene, three of which WESB and The Hero used. On her Facebook page, Palmer said several media outlets have asked for permission to use the pictures.

Kane has about 5,400 residents, which means about 20 percent of people who live in the borough had to be evacuated. The evacuation area covered a half-mile area around the crash site.

Photo by Michelle Palmer

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