Nova Scotia

Fuel cleanup begins after fiery crash

A cleanup is underway near the site of a fiery crash between a car and a truck carrying 41,000 litres of fuel.

Woman killed in collision between car, tractor-trailer

The burned-out truck rests in the ditch along Highway 103. (Phonse Jessome/CBC)

A cleanup is underway near the site of a fiery crash between a car and a truck carrying 41,000 litres of fuel.

Ronna Goreham, 33, was killed when her Pontiac Sunfire collided with the truck on Highway 103 Tuesday afternoon.

The burned-out hulk of the truck was still lying on its side in a ditch Wednesday morning.

Much of the fuel burned off during the fire, as the tanker burned for about eight hours after the crash. When the blaze was out, the rest of the fuel started to flow down through a ditch.

CBC reporter Phonse Jessome said the smell of fuel in the area was strong Wednesday morning.

Brian Crowell, fire chief of Port Clyde, said he knew it would be a long day when he arrived on the scene Tuesday afternoon.

"One tank on fire in the front, cab was gone on the truck … from then on you just knew it was going to be a long day, and a lot of water," said Crowell.

"We're basically glad it's been a fairly wet spring, because if the woods would've been real dry, we'd have had a lot more issue to it."

He said as each tank burned off, fuel would run off from the truck and fire would follow its path into the woods.

Crowell said no firefighters were hurt. 

Workers were putting absorbent pads in the ditch to soak up the remaining fuel.

The truck was carrying approximately 32,000 litres of gasoline and 9,000 litres of diesel. Jessome said it's still unclear how much fuel spilled out and whether it reached nearby wetlands.

Karen White, an Environment Department spokeswoman, said a department crew, local firefighters and a private environmental consulting company were busy with an assessment of the damage.

Firefighters douse flames after a tractor trailer carrying fuel collided with a car on Highway 103. ((CBC))
She said it appeared the spill had been contained, although a visual inspection had confirmed the appearance of some fuel on the surface of a wetland about 90 metres from the accident scene.

"They are starting to remove some of the contaminated soil and some absorbent pads are being used in the nearby wetlands area," said White.

Firefighters with the Department of Natural Resources were at the scene Wednesday assessing hot spots.

The crash in Shelburne County happened at about 2:45 p.m. RCMP said Goreham's car crossed the centre line and smashed into the oncoming truck.

Goreham, from Upper Clyde, died at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital. There was no one else in the car.

The 58-year-old truck driver suffered minor injuries, including burns on his hands.

Highway 103 was closed between exits 27 and 28 — the Birchtown and Clyde River exits — Tuesday night. It reopened as one lane at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Both lanes were open on Wednesday night.