A tanker carrying over 8,000 gallons of butane overturned early Wednesday morning in downtown Kane, forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,000 residents within a half-mile radius of the accident and closing school for the day throughout the district.
McKean County Sheriff Bradley Mason said the tanker, owned by Elkhorn Propane of Warren, was carrying 8,400 gallons of butane when it overturned on a sidewalk attempting to make a left turn from Fraley Street onto Greeves Street around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The tanker did not release any butane and the driver of the vehicle was not injured.
Times Observer photo by Ben Klein
Workers pump butane from an Elkhorn Propane tanker that overturned Wednesday morning in downtown Kane into a Crossett, Inc. tanker. School was canceled throughout the district and nearly 1,000 residents were evacuated.
Approximately 1,000 residents within a half-mile radius of the scene were evacuated and about 150 residents were taken to Kane Area High School that was being used as shelter.
"Safety is paramount," Mason said.
Tim Holt, chief of the Kane volunteer fire department, said the scene was cleared with no leaks, contamination or injuries by about 5 p.m., and people were returning home.
Electrical and natural gas service to the borough was shut off and workers from Crossett Inc., were on the scene to pump the highly-flammable liquid from the overturned tanker.
"Essentially all we were there for was to try and off-load that tanker that was on its side so they could put it back on its feet," Eric Ahl, Crossett's regulatory compliance manager, said. "Whenever there's a rollover like that, if a tanker is loaded, a lot of times it's just because of how heavy it is. The safest thing to do is off-load as much product as you can to lighten the load."
"The attempt is going to be made to transfer the product from the overturned tanker to another tank and there is a process that has to be gone through to do so," Mason said. "They are going to take some off and apparently because of where the connections are and so on the wrecked truck has to be righted gradually to relieve the gas off of that truck."
The Red Cross provided meals for displaced residents at the high school and emergency services worked with residents to provide medications they may have not brought with them.
State Routes 6, 66 and 321 were closed to commercial truck traffic until about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to PennDOT.
Volunteer firefighters from Kane, Sheffield, Mount Jewett, Ludlow, Wilcox, and Cherry Grove responded to the scene.