On Sunday, August 31, 2008 at 8:02 AM, 5 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 2 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 1 EMS Battalion Captain and 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 42 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Dennis Waters, responded to a Traffic Collision with Fire and Hazardous Materials on the southbound Golden State (I-5) Freeway transition to the eastbound Pomona (SR-60) Freeway in Boyle Heights.
According to witnesses, a semi-tractor pulling a large single propane tanker overturned on a transition road in the east Los Angeles interchange, before the tractor portion erupted in flames.
Despite the toppling and rotating of the truck and trailer across lanes filled with heavy holiday traffic, no other vehicles were involved.
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The male truck driver and his female passenger were aided in escaping before the fire consumed the cab of their vehicle, threatening the 8,500 gallon payload of liquified petroleum gas which remained within the vehicle's trailer.
Firefighters arrived soon thereafter, extinguishing the flames in less than ten minutes. Their skilfull effort prevented the fire from involving the volatile cargo.
The driver and his passenger suffered only minor injuries and no thermal burns. They were taken by LAFD Ambulance to the nearby Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in fair condition.
No other injuries were reported.
Working cooperatively with the California Highway Patrol and State Department of Transportation, as well as a pair of heavy-duty tow trucks for more than an hour, the LAFD Heavy Rescue unit supervised the safe righting of the filled trailer, which could not be moved or off-loaded until it was on its wheels.
The cause of the collision remains under investigation by California Highway Patrol officials.
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department