Propane truck fire on Christmas Eve

On the morning of Christmas Eve, Wilton’s emergency responders were dispatched to Route 7 and Station Road after a propane delivery truck caught fire.

According to Wilton Fire Marshal Rocco Grosso, the fire began around 8:30 in the truck’s engine compartment and burned into the cab, but did not ignite the volatile cargo and was extinguished in a matter of minutes.

Until then, however, firefighters exercised extreme caution, using a deck gun to douse the flames from a distance, incident commander Capt. Jim Blanchfield said.

“Upon arrival, we saw a large fire plume coming from the engine and cab compartments of the vehicle, which was encroaching on the propane tank,” he said.

“Initially,” he continued, “we didn’t want to get too close to the tank. We wanted to provide the best protection we could for our firefighters while minimizing the hazard as soon as possible. Deck guns flow large amounts of water at a very rapid rate.”

Once the blaze was extinguished, firefighters metered the area and detected no propane readings. Nevertheless, representatives from the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection and the Office of State Fire Marshal were called to the scene and consulted.

Following their counsel, responders offloaded the propane cargo onto a separate, undamaged vehicle before towing the cab.

The first on the scene happened to be Wilton Police Chief Robert Crosby, who was on his way into work when he heard the dispatch calls and saw the smoke. Thinking fast, he pulled over and began directing traffic until the arrival of other responders, who came “within minutes,” he said.

Wilton fire, police, and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) responded to the incident report. Police assisted by closing Route 7 from Ridgefield Road to Pimpewaug Road, as well as the entrance to Station Road, where the incident took place.

Evidently, the truck, which had Anthem Propane Exchange printed on its side, was being driven northbound to Diamond Deli in Wilton, but the driver missed the turn and pulled into Station Road to circle back around.

While stationary, waiting to get back onto Route 7, the driver and passenger saw smoke and flames rise up out of the cab floorboard. Both left the vehicle and neither was injured.

Officers and firefighters arrived within minutes of the call for help, and approximately one hour later, police said, about six CERT members were dispatched to the scene and helped to direct traffic.

By noon, one southbound and one northbound lane on Route 7 were reopened to normal travel, but the entrance to Station Road was kept blocked for approximately five hours, police said.

To suppress and extinguish the fire, two engines and a tanker were deployed, Grosso said.