Semi carrying 900 gallons of fuel goes up in flames

WASHINGTON COUNTY – A large plume of black smoke rose into the sky from the hills southwest of St. George Wednesday evening as a semitrailer carrying hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel caught fire on Apex Mine Road about 5 or so miles off Old Highway 91.

Fire crews from Ivins and Santa Clara responded to a fuel truck fire by the Apex Mine Road about 5-6 miles off Old Highway 91. The truck was carrying an estimated 900 gallons of diesel when the fire started, Washington County, Utah, Aug 13, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Fire crews from Ivins and Santa Clara responded to a fuel truck fire by the Apex Mine Road about 5-6 miles off Old Highway 91. The truck was carrying an estimated 900 gallons of diesel when the fire started, Washington County, Utah, Aug. 12, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“The driver was coming off this dirt road here, and as he was coming down the hill, he started seeing some flames come out the side of his truck,” Ivins City Fire Chief Randy Hancey said. “So he, being a fuel supply truck, he was pretty nervous about that.”

The fuel truck was coming from fueling other vehicles involved in mining operations in the area, and was returning to a clearing just off the Apex Mine Road that acted as a staging area when the fire started, Hancey said.

The fire grew bigger as the driver continued toward the staging area. Once there, he abandoned the fuel truck. With the clearing being free of vegetation, Hancey said the action likely kept the mountainside from catching fire.

Reports of the vehicle fire originally came in around 8:40 p.m. and was initially categorized as a possible brush fire until authorities were able to establish otherwise.

The Ivins Fire Department was alerted to the semitruck fire soon after and sent fire crews out that were somewhat delayed  due to the twists and steep curves of the road leading to the fire, Hancey said.

The Santa Clara Fire Department was also called to the scene at Ivins’ request and arrived shortly thereafter. Due to initial worries over a possible brush fire, the Bureau of the Land Management was also called in, yet turned back once it was determined there was little threat of that happening.

Once on scene, fire crews were able to enlist the aid of a bulldozer operator to help create a berm around the burning semi in order to contain any diesel fuel run-off once water was applied.

Smoke from a semi-trailer on fire on Apex Mine Road is visible from the Sand Hollow area, Hurricane, Utah, August 12, 2015 | Photo by Nataly Burdick, St. George News
Smoke from a semi-trailer on fire on Apex Mine Road is visible from the Sand Hollow area, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 12, 2015 | Photo by Nataly Burdick, St. George News

“The supply of fuel on this truck (was) probably close to 900 gallons of diesel fuel and 55 gallons of grease and other lubricants with the fuel on the back,” Hancey said. “That’s what that big column of smoke was from.”

The large black plume of smoke could be seen from Bloomington and also from the Sand Hollow area of Hurricane.

The fire ultimately consumed the entire semitrailer and burned it down to the frame, leaving a burning husk by the time fire crews were able to safely approach and apply water to the blaze shortly before 11 p.m.

While the semi was a total loss, the driver was uninjured and no other vehicles were involved, Hancey said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

St. George News reporter Julie Applegate contributed to this report.

Ed. note: Corrected location of fire.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

 

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6 Comments

  • Paul Bottino August 13, 2015 at 10:30 am

    You need to look at your compass again. The Apex mine is SOUTHWEST of St George. or the Ivins Fire Dept would of not gone there.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic August 13, 2015 at 11:58 am

      You are right, correction made. Thank you, Mr. Bottino

  • DB August 14, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Glad the driver is OK and glad the fire wasn’t in the Gorge!

  • Dexter August 14, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    they should of used some Utah beer to put the fire out with as much as that is watered down..

  • fun bag August 14, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Well the truck didn’t just light itself on fire. Hope they brought marshmallows this time…

  • Dexter August 14, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    I’m sure MESAMORON and REAL LIFE VILLAGE IDIOT brought the marshmallows for the spiritual marshmallow bake

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