Received a call from MA State Police to respond immediately to Rte. 24N at the exit #9 off ramp for a serious commercial motor vehicle accident involving a fully loaded tractor trailer combination unit that had just rolled over. They stated that they were unsure of what it was loaded with or if there was a fuel and oil spill onto the roadway. We immediately responded to the scene with both of our heavy duty rotating crane style recovery units, our HAZMAT Response Truck, and our Kubota skid steer that would be used for site remediation purposes.
Once on scene, our crews were able to further assess the situation and determine that the trailer was an overseas style refrigerated container loaded with bananas. There was also traces of fuel leaking onto the roadway coming from one of the fuel tanks as the tractor was overturned onto its side. Our crews immediately began dealing with the fuel spill so that it could be contained and not travel any further down the exit ramp or into the surrounding environment. Speedy dry absorbent was used to cover the affected area and create a dike.
At that time, pilot holes were drilled into both fuel tanks using our air-operated hole saw and our air-operated fuel transfer pump was used to begin siphoning the diesel fuel from the tanks into our DOT Approved HAZMAT Drums. After all of the fuel was removed from the overturned tractor our recovery team could begin positioning and setting up the cranes along with installing the necessary rigging which would be used to upright the fully loaded tractor trailer. One crane was setup behind the rear of the overturned trailer while the other crane was setup in front of the overturned tractor.
Heavy duty foundry hooks were installed onto the four corners of the overseas container and both crane operators rotated the booms directly overhead and lowered the upper winches down to the foundry hooks. At that time, the foundry hooks were attached to the upper winch lines and tension was placed onto them. Both of our cranes then simultaneously lifted the entire loaded container approximately one foot off the ground and crew members were able to place supporting cribbing underneath the corners of the trailer to lift it up off the ground. Now that there was space between the trailer and the ground, our crews could place four heavy duty air bags underneath the trailer which would assist both of our cranes in uprighting the loaded tractor trailer while at the same time adding support to the side of the container wall.
The load of bananas is considered a perishable good and must be kept at a certain refrigerated temperature. Any sort of compromise of the trailer would make the load contaminated and therefore it would have to be discarded. Therefore, in an effort to preserve the load, our air bag system was implemented. The final task was to inflate the landing bags and position one underneath the trailer tires and one underneath the tractor tires. These landing bags act as a catch system for the entire weight of both the tractor and trailer and allow for a gradual descent of both back down onto the roadway.
Now that all of the necessary rigging was properly installed, and our air bags were positioned, our entire recovery team communicated via wireless headsets which involved both of our crane operators working in conjunction along with our air bag system operator. Our air bag system operator began inflating each of the four air bags simultaneously as both of our crane operators worked in conjunction to slowly begin uprighting the entire loaded combination unit. As the loaded tractor trailer reached its tipping point, our landing bags were able to catch the weight and slowly bring the entire unit back down onto the roadway.
Once the loaded tractor trailer was back onto its wheels, our crews began un-installing all of the rigging, deflating the air bags, and preparing the tractor trailer to be towed from the scene. After the tractor trailer was prepped for towing, it was then moved to the top of the exit ramp so that the site remediation of the entire affected area could begin. When the loaded trailer impacted the grassy median strip it made a massive divot creating a large mound of compacted dirt. Our Kubota skid steer was used to knock down this compacted dirt mound and re-fill the large divot that was created so there was not a massive hole in the median strip. Once filled in, our skid steer was used to back blade and flatten the area back to its pre-existing condition.
The initial area of impact where the fuel spill had occurred was covered with speedy dry absorbent and our skid steer sweeper attachment was used to work the absorbent into the pavement and lift the contaminants from the roadway. The entire off ramp was then swept clean and the contaminated absorbent was placed into a HAZMAT Drum. All of the debris that littered the area was collected and placed into a HAZMAT Drum, as well. At that time, the entire affected area was returned to pre-accident condition and traffic was able to flow freely at its full capacity. The tractor trailer was then transported to our Freetown storage facility.
The following day, the company came to our facility in order to off-load the load of bananas from the damaged container trailer to a new one so that it could be delivered. Our tractor was used to remove the loaded trailer from our storage facility and position it in our yard so that it could be off-loaded. Once the entire load was off-loaded, our tractor was then used to place the trailer back into storage.