Two dead following NH crash
THE KEENE SENTINEL | May 04,2013
Michael Moore / THE KEENE Sentinel
Emergency vehicles and personnel work at the scene of a crash involving a fuel tanker Friday morning.
Two people died in a two-vehicle crash Friday morning on Route 12 North near the Route 9 East on-ramp in Keene, N.H., police said. The crash involved a 2011 Hyundai and a tractor trailer carrying thousands of gallons of fuel.
Douglas Farr Jr., 32, and Erin Breault, 35, both of Hinsdale, were killed, according to Keene police. The two were in the Hyundai. The driver of the truck, Jeffrey J. Cloran, 54, of Becket, Mass., was taken to Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Keene, where he was treated and released.
Police say the Hyundai, driven by Farr, was traveling south on Route 12 when it crossed the center line into the path of the tractor trailer, which was northbound. The truck caught fire, rupturing one of the trailer fuel cells. It took about an hour for the Keene Fire Department, along with other agencies, to make the scene safe. The truck was fully loaded, carrying about 5,000 gallons of fuel, police said.
The fire also damaged power lines running over the highway, which complicated removing the truck.
The highway was closed for several hours until the truck was removed.
David P. Therrien of Alstead was driving behind the tanker just before the crash, at about 10:30 a.m.
“It appeared as though a vehicle in the southbound lane crossed into the northbound lane and struck the tanker,” he said. “I both saw and heard it, and you felt it.”
The tractor trailer had five separate fuel compartments; compartments one and four were empty prior to the crash, James P. Martin, a spokesman for the N.H. Department of Environmental Services, said Friday afternoon.
“There was an explosion from the front of compartment number one, but there wasn’t anything in there. Compartments two and five held a total of 4,000 gallons of gasoline, and compartment three held 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel,” he said.
The truck also had smaller “saddle tanks” holding a couple hundred of gallons of fuel that came loose from the truck during or immediately following the collision, Martin said. He said 100 gallons at most could have leaked from those tanks.
Members of the environmental department’s spill response team determined a small amount of diesel fuel leaked into a nearby storm drain that eventually leads into a retention pond before making its way to the Ashuelot River, Martin said.
The spill response team used a “containment boom” device to prevent more fuel from making it into or through the storm drain, and any fuel that did make it through was limited to the retention pond, where it will be cleaned up by members of a private clean-up company hired by the firm that owns the truck, Martin said.