Vehicle careens off highway striking large propane tank

Joplin News First

Missouri State Highway Patrol tell us initially a one-mile radius was cleared of traffic

JANE, Mo. — Shortly after 9:15 AM Monday, Missouri State Highway Patrol tell us a US-71 southbound vehicle left the roadway and struck a large storage propane tank at Ozark Mountain Propane Co., their Jane satellite office.

US-71 was halted in both directions for hours. MSHP tell us initially a one-mile radius was cleared of traffic. However by 1:00 PM all lanes returned to normal.

Thick black smoke was visible for miles as White Rock Fire Department was supported with mutual aid. Bella Vista Arkansas Fire Department Hazmat team was able to shut valve(s) to the tank completely by 11:30 AM.

The lone occupant of the vehicle, name withheld, was flown Mercy LifeLine to Springfield, Mo. Extent of his injuries are unknown.

The vehicle was a converted former school bus that was a work truck. It was also towing a small work trailer.

An official with Ozark Mountain Propane told us the tank did not explode. The vehicle struck the side where their company trucks pull up as their refilling station.

Simply stated safety mechanisms are built into tanks, and today they worked. He couldn’t estimate how many gallons burned since the gauges are broke off.

He stated further, “we are based in Garfield, AR, this is just a satellite office.” It should not affect their customers even though this is their busiest time of the year to refill rural customers tanks for winter.

Missouri State Propane Safety Commission officials are expected to respond later in the day for evaluation of the tank.

Photo credit: Chris Cantrell, active fire photos.

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