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Heavy Air Bag Job!  

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Received a call from MA State Police to respond immediately to Rte 140N @ 195W interchange for a loaded tri-axle 53' tractor trailer unit that was rolled over across 3 lanes, guardrail to guardrail. They also stated there was a diesel fuel leak going into the highway drains and motor oil running down the side of the highway. We responded with our specialized equipment hazmat trailer. This trailer has all the necessary equipment to pump out fuel tanks and other equipment to cover and block highway drains. We also dispatched our two heavy duty rotators, one 85 ton, one 60 ton, as well as a 70,000lb capacity HD wrecker to the scene. The State Police stated that the load of clementines was bonded and the trailer doors shouldn't be opened whereas the fruit is prohibited in the United States. Our hazmat crew immediately drilled the fuel tanks and set up the fuel transfer pumps. The fuel was pumped into OSHA approved hazmat drums. Other crew members starting blocking the highway drains and started spreading speed dry and absorbant pads on the oil spill. At the same time, our recovery crew setup the two rotating cranes while the hazmat crew was working on the cleanup. Our specialized equipment crew started setting up the air bag recovery system. On this particular job, the air bags are a must to lift this 53' trailer that was damaged from sliding along the highway. Our crew lifted the entire loaded unit with the air bags without compromising the load at all. After the tractor and trailer was set back on its wheels, the front end loader was used to swing the entire unit around between the guardrails and place it in a position to be towed. Our 35 ton HD wrecker towed the entire unit back to the freezer company at the New Bedford state piers for unloading. Our operators remained with the tractor trailer unit during the offloading process until they were cleared by food and drug. After the clearance, the vehicle was towed back to our Freetown location. Our hazmat crew remained on scene, working with Frank Corp. Environmental Services recovering all of the contaminated speedy dry, pads, and booms, and oily dirt from the roadway. Frank Corp. crews used a vacuum truck to pump out all of the drains and the DEP approved the operation.


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Miracle1 - Very nice,Any ideal of approx weight? Eric or Bob


nullstowing - VERY NICE! From start to finish.


MattinVT - Nice recovery and documentation!!!!


Eds Towing - Nice work guys! A completely top notch job from start to finish.

I am curious as to why the operators are "holding" the air cushions? I assume it is to feel if one is walking or going to pop out? Just curious because I have never scene that done before. Also, I have never drilled a tank like that. Did you do the top one first?
Rickys Towing - Hell of a job as usual guys keep up the work Team BigWheel!!! Rick Jr
BigWheelRecovery - ED to answer your question on holding the bags there is two reasons in this case, first the day of that recovery was raining pretty hard an the trailer was wet ,I was concerned that we might have one pop out prematurely an with the 90,000 lbs.we were playing with it was just a little insurance besides is all you have to do is just apply slight pressure an it will not move. Also we wanted to keep the bags under the side wall as long as possiable were as the trailer was so weak I needed every bit of controlled lift to get it up with out the top rail breaking, as for drilling we do that on all tanks that are leaking when the inlet is not a option, Thanks Ed Stay safe BOB
Heavytowman12 - The right equipment, personal and knowledge made this recovery a success. Nice work Big Wheel Crew!
tobtow - as all ways great job, told you i would come on tonight and look well will talk to you later
rotator60 - 1st Class Recovery from start to finish..Great job guys..
Flamintow - Nice job bob an eric.
Beau Bach Towing - Nice job and what is that josh working wow........
mattow - Very nice job guys ! Looks like you have a great team that work good together . You can see the pride in their faces ... Nice looking equipment also !
VulcanUK - Nice example of air cushion use to keep a heavy trailer together thats had a hard landing, Good job.
Scooby - depending on the weight on the cushion, the cushion "popping" out will knock a man on his ass.
there are two members here on the board that can verify that from experience...that I personally know of
in fact, I seen the bag knock the one individual who was 40 feet away, a good distance. there was about
7.5 psi across 5 bags when it happened.
Ed Barker - Scooby you beat me to answering that,it is not a good thing when a bag pops out under pressure,,,lol,,,,I also drill the tanks the same way for pumpoff.Good job fellers.
BigWheelRecoery -
To reply: I have many air bag jobs under my belt an have never had a bag blow especially when your lifting with 5 an monitor your pressure gauges,is it possiable? maybe, I find that a wet trailer has a lot less traction for the tops of the bags to grab on to when your getting near the maxium lift hight,it takes very little pressure to hold them in place so they don't pop out to soon adding more pressure to the top rail. Any time a bag has had a problem in the past it's a seem separation an hisses out like a tire going flat an we can usaually slide in another one beside it fairly quickly, maybe if your lifting with 2 or 3 an operating above your safe limits then I quess anything can happen, just my view, Thanks again BOB
cieranc - We've had a bag pop out, lifting a 44 ton cement powder tanker with 5 bags.
The bag was directly in front of me as I was on the valve block, I saw it slipping out,
knocked the valve off and braced myself! It slipped, flew towards me. I was expecting
a bruising, I had my forearms up over my face.

It flew about 15-20 foot, but just bounced off me. The police on scene had a good laugh.

Scary, yes, but turned out to be harmless.

Luckily on the job, the trailer was up over 45 degrees and the wrecker was already taking
a good bit of weight on the top boom, so the other 4 bags never suffered.

Ours (Jumbolifts with Honda 6hp compressor) run at 8psi, with 8 ton per bag capacity.
Turners and DCCR - The Professional Partnership.
Darlington, United Kingdom
Scooby - if your bags are Jumbo Safe Lift brand they measure 48 X48 square for the
jumbos..(not round) that gives you 2304 sq inches of surface area

@ 8psi, that equals 18,432 lbs

calculation is as follows: surface area of bag X input pressure = capacity

If you are using round cushions
Calculation for round bags:
R sq'd X pi (3.14) = sq in
12" circle, radius will be 6". 6" sq'd = 36
36 X pi (3.14) = 113.04
Gale25yrs - I guess I just haven't lived long enough to see a bag pop out with enough force to knock a man down.
BigWheelRecovery - If one goes through life afraid of every little thing then life will be long but very boreing, We are all guilty in this bussiness of having to take chance's, just getting out of your tow truck on the highway is risky, laying down on the wet pavement setting your j's as highway traffic fly's by, blind to what's comming your way,is dangerous,making a tow bill for a aggetated 6ft 5- 350lb unlicenced truck driver in dangerous,an being 2 hr. late for a special supper could be fatal, guess it's what we all do. Wish you guys a safe an happy New Year From the Big Wheel Crew , BOB
Gale25yrs - I have used mudflaps for years at the top rail of the trailer. They usually arent between the top of the bag and the wall but between the side of the bag as it expands outward before there is enough lift that only the top contacts the trailer. Of course this is only true if you have the bags well under the side below the top rail.
Kytowman99 - Just a thought maybe wroung but a thought. how about using a strap from one end to the other end to hold the cushions? then you whould not be putting anyone in danger.
AWT902 - "I have used mudflaps for years at the top rail of the trailer. They usually arent between the top of the bag and the wall but between the side of the bag as it expands outward before there is enough lift that only the top contacts the trailer. Of course this is only true if you have the bags well under the side below the top rail." Gale, that is exactly when we have damaged bags also, never have cut the heavy black top, only the sides during the first part of the lift.
MCByerstowing - Nice work good pictures and quality job .. what was the time frame from start to finish with the drilling and pumping to up right and towing down the road ..
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