A little over a week ago, first responders throughout Prince William County began receiving reports of an incident that had taken place along Interstate 95, close to the city of Dumfries. Official statements taken from the Prince William County Police Department indicate that the accident towards which all the emergency response crews were headed took place very early in the morning and involved two tractor-trailers.
Much of the relevant information surrounding the incident has yet to be discussed or released by the authorities, but from the initial Prince William County statements we do know that the incident happened close to 4:45 in the morning at a weigh station close to Interstate 95. It is not clear if both of the trucks had pulled off of the road and entered the weigh station, if they were leaving the weigh station, or if the collision took place at the entrance to the weigh station, but we do know that at least one of the trucks involved was carrying a saddle tank.
A saddle tank is a large cylindrical container that is situated between several sets of demilune braces set within the bed of a tractor trailer. They are most often used to carry liquid cargo, such as milk or petroleum. The truck involved in the incident on Wednesday, May 9th, was carrying diesel fuel.
The collision between the two trucks resulted in the rupture of the saddle tank and the subsequent decanting of its toxic contents all over the roadway. It is not clear from the reports if any individuals were injured as a result of the initial collision, but we do know that the incident and subsequent spill resulted in massive lane closures that spanned many miles of highway.
Officers with the Prince William County Police department responded to the incident and began to assess the amount of cleanup required by the fuel pouring from the broken tank. Traffic was rerouted along U.S. 1 while the accident was tended to by authorities, although not before many early-morning commutes were disrupted as were the school busses transporting local children and young adults to school.