Driver cut from burning fuel tanker escapes with minor injuries

A Union, Ohio man escaped a burning fuel tanker with only minor injuries after traveling off the right side of the road just north of Township Line Road on U.S. 42 at 4:16 a.m., according to a release from the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Lebanon.

In the release, state patrol said that Jeffrey Miller, 36, of Union, was traveling north on U.S. 42 in a white 2017 Peterbilt semi truck pulling a tanker of fuel.

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While driving, Miller went off the right side of the road and into a ditch, where the truck rolled onto its side. The impact made the fuel tank catch fire, soon engulfing the trailer. The flames damaged utility lines above the truck.

According to Clearcreek Fire District Fire Chief Steve Agenbroad, these were phone lines, as the power lines were across the street.

Miller was trapped until Clearcreek Township Fire and EMS could cut him out of the truck.

Agenbroad said that rescue teams used the Jaws of Life and other cutters to cut open the truck and rescue the driver.

Miller was wearing his seatbelt during the crash, and only received minor injuries. Agenbroad said that he was awake and talking to crews while they were working to get him out.

He was taken to Atrium Medical Center. Neither speed nor alcohol or drugs appeared to be involved, according to the release.

The fire burned for an hour and a half while fire crews worked to contain the flames with water in tankers. Agenbroad said that this was due to there being no fire hydrants in the area. Eventually, though, the flames were put out when fire crews arrived with fire-extinguishing foam.

The fire burned strongly due to the sheer amount of fuel in the truck, which had recently been filled to contain more than 6,000 gallons of gasoline, Agenbroad said.

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Our crew on scene reported that the fire seemed to get stronger suddenly while crews were fighting the flames, and Agenbroad explained that this is due to how fuel tankers are constructed. He said that tankers like this contain four bladders filled with fuel, so one would be burning, then rupture the next and grow, then move to the next.

Cleanup of any spilled gasoline would be handled by a company hired by the truck owners, Agenbroad said.

US-42 is currently closed between Utica Road and Middletown Road, and will be closed until the crash can be cleared.  A Warren County dispatcher said the road would remain closed for most of the day.

Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Clearcreek Township Fire/EMS Department, and Lebanon Police Department all assisted with the crash.

Shortly after the crash, Duke Energy’s outage map showed an outage at this location, first reported at 4:26 a.m. The map no longer shows any outages in the area.

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