It was like staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.
That’s what our brave volunteer firefighters must have thought Wednesday during an 11-hour emergency at the scene of a chemical tanker truck rollover in the heart of Kane.
“We never know what we’re getting into,” Tim Holt, chief of the Kane Volunteer Fire Department, said in commenting on the harrowing experience. “Volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line for the community. They’re always ‘right there’ when they’re needed even though they know there are risks.”
Nearly 40 Kane volunteer firefighters responded along with volunteers and trucks from Mt. Jewett, Ludlow, Highland Township, Sheffield, Cherry Grove, Wilcox, Johnsonburg, Ridgway and Bradford Township.
“We didn’t need their equipment as much as we needed their bodies,” Holt said in praising the mutual-aid response from area volunteer fire departments. “It was exhausting for everyone. It was a long day.”
Holt praised the services provided by the out-of-town fire departments as well as the Kane firefighters. He said the Auxiliary for the Kane Fire Department prepared food at the fire hall. He saluted the fire police for directing traffic all day.
Holt said the Kane Area Community Center, headed by director Michele Palmer, opened its doors on Fraley Street to provide bathrooms and a rest area for weary firefighters.
A tanker truck filled with 8,400 gallons of liquid butane under pressure rolled on its side near Kane’s only traffic light at Fraley and Greeves streets, both part of state Route 6. The Elkhorn tanker was proceeding east on Route 6 through Uptown Kane and rolled on its side while making the 90-degree turn east onto Greeves Street about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The truck driver was not injured.
Holt said no injuries to firefighters were reported. Ambulance personnel, however, did take blood pressures and monitor other vital signs to make sure the firefighters were not suffering from dehydration or other ailments, Holt said.