YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County has a few spots where tanker trucks can fill up on fuel. One is over on Bears Den Road in Youngstown. Trucks can be seen going in and out, ready to fill up. While tanker fires aren’t too common, the footage of the various departments in Barkeyville sparked some questions.
Between the videos of the shattered windows on the fire trucks to the rain causing more difficulties, this was something that fire departments don’t normally see. However, it’s something they must be prepared for.
We spoke with one of the instructors at the Mahoning County Career & Technical Center about how the students are trained for these types of situations.
“This situation is obviously a larger scale and you’re going to get multiple other agencies involved,” said instructor and Austintown firefighter Tom O’Hara.
However, that doesn’t mean the students shouldn’t be prepared. O’Hara says they train their students for flammable substance fires.
“We will have fluids, flammable liquids, we will have them in pans. We have it in a controlled environment and have them extinguish those fires,” O’Hara said.
Just a few miles from the training center lies Marathon Pipeline Co., a place where tanker trucks similar to the one that exploded overnight fill up on fuel. O’Hara says if a tanker caught on fire in this area, there would be multiple agencies that would respond.
“Some of the first calls would be to the Mahoning County HAZMAT Team. They’re the experts in those types of calls. Probably reaching out to the Youngstown airbase. They would have the quantity of foam that we would need for that type of situation,” O’Hara said.
Water doesn’t mix well with fires that involve fuel. Foam acts as a blanket to keep oxygen from igniting the fire even more. Fire departments usually only have a small amount of foam for smaller, fuel-induced fires, like lawn mowers.
“Let your piece of equipment cool before you refill it. You wanna make sure that it’s full before you start,” O’Hara said.
O’Hara says that keeping your fuel in a dark, cool place inside your garage is important as well.
The students at MCCTC are learning not only how to fight these fires but how to contain any hazardous runoff that could contaminate water.