On Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 11:25 PM, 14 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit, 1 Rehab Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 3 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, Foam Tender 100, HazMat Tender 75, CHP, LAPD, L.A. County Health HazMat, Cal Trans and DOT, under a Unified Command, responded to a HAZ MAT incident at the southbound San Diego FY x Ventura FY in Sherman Oaks.
Firefighters responded to reports of a traffic collision involving a semi on the 405 Freeway. As Firefighters arrived onscene, they found a tractor trailer on it's side, with a load of approximately 8600 gallons of butane, in an uncompromised container. A HazMat assignment with additional companies was requested. A Unified Command was established with LAFD, CHP, LAPD, Caltrans and L.A. County Health HazMat. As the HazMat Teams checked the container's integrity, the Unified Command developed a plan to offload the contents safely. Several Engines were utilized to relay a 4 inch supply line from Sepulveda Boulevard, located below the freeway. An aerial ladder truck was used to relay water from the rear of F.S. 88, across a storm drain, to the freeway above. A contingency plan was formulated for evacuations if needed. Butane when compressed is in liquid form, but when released, is highly flammable.
At 0415, the tractor and container was righted, towed away without incident and its contents offloaded at Balboa Park, under the supervision of the HazMat teams. 104 Firefighters and specialty companies assisted in controlling the incident. The driver was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries. The driver stated he was avoiding an abandoned vehicle in lanes and flipped the trailer.
Submitted by d'Lisa Davies
Los Angeles Fire Department